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Eating the Whole Pie at Once

I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to the things I love. When I first discovered and subsequently fell in love with podcasting, I started a few podcasts and joined a few others until I was recording multiple shows a week. When I fall in love with television shows like Lost or Breaking Bad or Parks and Recreation, I’ll binge watch episode after episode and season after season until I’ve consumed the entire pie — quite possibly while consuming an entire pie. When I decided to collect arcade cabinets, I bought 30 of them. I’ve watched five Harry Potter films over the past seven days. It’s just who I am.

I recently re-enrolled in college. I’m only taking one class this semester: “Writing the Short Story,” a prerequisite required for starting the Masters of Professional Writing program at the University of Oklahoma. Despite the fact that I’m only taking one class, the time invested is not inconsequential. Twice a week I leave my house at 6 a.m., drive for an hour to an off-campus parking lot, and catch a bus there that takes me to the campus. After arriving there I set up my laptop and work for two hours before attending class. After two hours of class I check my e-mail and voice mail before driving back to work. (Work has been extremely accommodating by allowing me to shift my work schedule around and still work 40 hours while attending this class.)

This of course does not include the time I’ve spent outside of class reading, writing, and, believe it or not, watching films. Over the past three and a half weeks I’ve watched a total of ten films: five recommended to us by our professor as examples of films with character-driven plots (mostly from the 1940s), and the five aforementioned Harry Potter films. The Potter films were not assigned to us, but they’ve been referred to so many times in class that I’m missing out on conversations about story plot and pacing. By next Tuesday, I expect I will have seen all eight films. In addition to film watching, I’ve started reading a collection of Agatha Christie’s short stories along with Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (which has been referred to me dozens of times by my friends, readers, and listeners). I’m also listening to podcasts about writing (including #) during the four hours I spend driving to and from college each week.


The upside of obsession is that you get stuff done. I am getting stuff done. I am reading and writing more than I’ve done in the past couple of years. That’s great! The downside is that I’m starting to get poked by friends and fans and family wondering where I’ve been. So that’s where I’ve been. I’m here, just a little distracted at the minute by reading and writing and consuming media.

I’m on the fifth draft of my short story for class, getting ready to start on the sixth after the debates end tonight. I’ll have time to sleep when I’m dead. Until then… G’night, Harry.

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2 comments to Eating the Whole Pie at Once

  • Paul in AZ

    Rob – You won’t want to hear this, but the books are FAR SUPERIOR to the films. You sound like you’ve got a full dance card, so I’d only recommend the first 4 books, and then if you really like them, continue on. You’ll see that they start to run to a pattern.

  • Watching a series of movies or shows definitely allows you to see larger plot arcs and character developments. You also notice giant plot holes as well. (Harry Potter – Wizards had the ability to time travel at times. Why not kill/arrest Voldemort in the past before he became a threat? Although if there was a more sinister conspiracy reason, that would make for an interesting story!)