I’m not up on psychological jargon, but I’ve suspected for a while that I have ADHD. Or some equivalent. Whatever it is that makes one’s attention fix on something, then get bored, and then ricochet around until another “something” can be fixed upon. And then the process begins all over again. After 32 years of marriage, my wife’s grown weary of telling me to “sit still” during a movie. My foot is always tapping. My mind is fighting to stay focused.
I’m not entirely sure this is a bad thing.
Maybe that’s why I “got” this Facebook Update from writer friend Katherine Coble the other day.
Forget that Katherine was referring to something I despise, which is authors using their social media stream just to shill for themselves. It was that first part that I SO totally understand. “I VASTLY prefer the status updates from people who talk about a variety of things in their lives.”
I’m beginning to wonder if my ADHD doesn’t have something to do with that.
In the sidebar of my blog, I have this quote from Blaise Pascal:
It is much better to know something about everything, than everything about something.
Part of the reason that resonates with me is because I don’t have the attention span necessary to know “everything” about “something.” I find it far more interesting to graze through “a variety of things” — science, history, film, pagan cultures, politics, UFO-ology, sports, theology, quantum theory, and gardening — than to burrow into one subject to the exclusion of others.
The world is too big to specialize in one field.
Or maybe my mind is just too undisciplined to be a specialist.
This quirk totally affects HOW I read. For instance, I enjoy the horror genre. But a steady diet of horror? No thanks. I enjoy epic fantasy. But non-stop? Uh-uh. I like sociology and mythology and cryptozoology. But all the time? Sorry.
I’ve never understood how people can read just one genre of book.
Hey, I’m cool with sci-fi nerds, manga enthusiasts, sci-fi experts, and Civil War history buffs. But, man, don’t you ever want to read something else? It would drive me batty to “know everything” about anything, to read about…
- Just wizards.
- Just Victorian heroines.
- Just Calvinism.
- Just Joss Whedon.
- Just Chippendale vampires.
- Just Batman.
I’m having a panic attack just thinking about it!
Right now, I’m on a non-fiction kick. Read a dozen non-fiction books so far this year. Yes, some of it is writing / research related. But most of it is recreational. It is such a refreshing break from fiction. And when I get back to fiction, trust me, I will graze. From Urban Fantasy, to Literary, to Gothic, to YA, to… whatever doesn’t bore me.
I guess you could say I “read broadly.” Then again, perhaps it’s just the upside of my ADHD.