My name is Neil. I’m a recovered narrative junky, but occasionally I fall off the wagon.
You know how it is with a story. Once you’ve started you just have to follow it to the end. No matter what. But sometimes that no matter what, you know? It’s…testing.
I used to consume entire fantasy trilogies on family holidays. LoTR one year, under a pool side parasol; all six of the Thomas Covenant books another. At university I had a terrible Australian soap habit. I’ve watched hundreds of shit horror movies all the way through. And on one occasion I threw a book across the room having read only one page…and then picked it up and read the rest.
All to finish the story.
But eventually I learned that to a greater or lesser extent a lot of the stories we are sold are constructed to hook the narrative junky, and hook them good. To make them come back for the next fix. THE Fantasies come in trilogies. Sometimes there’s more than enough story to fill three books; other times, well there’s a lot of wandering around in the wilderness until it’s time for the cliffhanger. And you can’t leave the story at the cliffhanger. You can’t just stop at one. And TV shows are the same, except often slicker and more effective in making you tune in next week, or even buy the box set before the series is even over.
It’s not that I object to the “just one more” trick. In fact, I admire the skill with which it’s done…and I often love it when it’s done to me(I recently devoured A Game Of Thrones in two sittings over a weekend), but I just don’t have time in my life to commit to long running series of books and TV series. Not when there are so many other, shorter, stories to enjoy.
So that’s why I steer clear of the TV shows everyone talks about, and very rarely these days indulge in the first volume of anything.
Fucking Downton fucking Abbey.
I feel so dirty.