Obsessions and Special Interests™

One discussion I hear in Aspieland is in regard to “special interests,” which one might say are an Aspie’s “kinder, gentler” versions of obsessions and compulsions. Probably my most life-long “special interest” is music, which leaves me a somewhat obsessive “completist.”

Here’s how it works. David Bowie puts out a new album. In anticipation of this, I start listening to all of my old Bowie. I concentrate on the LPs that I don’t know so well. Outside, say. And Tonight. And Heathen. When (Blackstar) comes out, I listen to it over and over. I watch the new videos.

Then David Bowie dies. I check my iTunes folders to make sure I have all of his official releases. I start listening to his entire oeuvre, beginning at the beginning. I go to Wikipedia. There’s a bunch of live stuff I don’t have. Some rarities. An unreleased album, Toy. I go to YouTube to find them. There’s so much to hear. I’m still not finished.

And then Paul Kantner dies.

It’s not like I’m a complete obsessive. I mean, I don’t need to get all the live Bowie stuff out there. (Though I do need to get that stuff from his tour with Nine Inch Nails. And I’d love to see footage from his last few public appearances. And there’s all those old music videos, some of which I’ve never seen… ) And certainly no thinking person could expect me to listen to the Jefferson Starship LPs released past their prime, could they? Although, really, the first four Starship albums are surprisingly good, listening to them now. And then there are Kantner’s many side projects.

So maybe…

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1 Comment for “Obsessions and Special Interests™”

Sally Erickson


I find I’m a little envious of this ability to fully indulge in an interest that has no “value” apart from the intrinsic pleasure it brings you. I mean I’m assuming it is pleasure. Is it pleasure? Is that what drives your interest in music? I allow myself so little pure personal indulgence. I understand that this is, for you, actually necessary for your basic well-being, in that so much of life has been, and often still is, quite frankly hard and irritating, anxiety-provoking, and draining. It’s the balance to life in this culture, in this social maelstrom that you have to deal with whenever you walk out the door, or even when the phone rings. My guess it that you would prefer the phone never ring, even though you never answer it unless you are expecting a call from me. Just the ringing of the phone must be awful. So having special interests for you is a balance to all of the irritating aspects of what for most people is just “life.” I don’t allow myself the indulgences in interests that don’t serve something else. Like I said, I’m a little envious. Maybe there is something here for me to research. Do I need to be more like you, more indulgent for the mere sake of it? Would that be a step for me into more wholeness and self-love?

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