Obsessions and What to Do about Them

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I’m obsessed. I admit it. So there it is—I’ve finally said it to the world (or at least to my social media followers). Obsessions can be both a blessing and a curse in a person’s life, and my obsession has dogged me for my entire time here on planet Earth (and continues to do so).

Creative People Have to Create

From the moment I could pick up a crayon or pencil I had to find a piece of paper to scribble on. Later it was brushes and canvas. Eventually art, in all its forms, drew me in so completely it threatened my very sanity. Creating was not a conscious choice—creative people have create.

Who’s the Boss

Can a person control their obsession, or does the obsession (in point of fact) control the person? And what’s healthy and unhealthy psychologically speaking. I am not a psychologist or mental health worker, so I really don’t have the answers—but I often ask myself who’s the boss.

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In the early days I think my obsession controlled me, but in my pre-teens I wrestled back control (or at least my sense of control). The problem was I could never adequately translate to canvas what was in my mind’s eye and this caused a huge amount of stress and frustration. Excerpted from my About page:

I began my early career as a classically trained artist studying with the well-known San Diego artist Dorothy Wright. Achieving some initial success early on I enjoyed an exhibition of my work at the world-renowned San Diego Museum of Fine Art.

Not living up to my own unrealistic expectations I left the world of paint, brush and canvas behind, and instead embraced photography which I had studied concurrently. Again success came early when I was a winner in Kodak’s National High School Photography Contest.

I know a lot of creative people: photographers, writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, and craftsman of all sorts. Many follow this blog and travel with me vicariously as I circumnavigate the globe. My obsessions are few these days, but very demanding: photography, writing, travelling, and living a simple-cheap-free lifestyle.

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So back to the original question and the title of this post: obsessions and what to do about them. In regard to creative obsessions (positive) I tend to indulge them. Negative obsessions like my love of Scotch whisky and good cigars (and women) I try to keep within the bounds of moderation. Like most things in life it’s about balance.

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I’ve spent the better part of my life trying hunker down to a so-called normal life (corporate job, marriage, living responsibly within societal norms), and in the process I denied my creative calling and sacrificed my truest desires on the altar of American consumerism. Five years ago I walked away from that life (existence) and set out on my current path. No regrets.

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Stephen F. Dennstedt

Photographer, Writer, World Traveller


Calama, Chile


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