I Can’t Commit

Janet Coburn
3 min readJun 2, 2024


Of course, that’s not completely true. There are things I can commit to — my husband, for example. We’ve been married for 41 years, which I think is proof aplenty.

What I can’t commit to are things that go on too long. (The marriage does not fit into that category.)

Let me explain.


In the evenings, when my husband and I have finished dinner, he often wants to watch a movie, but I don’t often agree to it. I hate leaving a movie in the middle, but I also hate staying up past my bedtime to finish one. It’s a delicate balance.

For example, after the recent eclipse, we decided on Ladyhawke, which was relevant, but I couldn’t make it all the way through. We had to watch the second half the next day and that upset my internal clock, not to mention my sense of continuity. If a movie starts at 8:00, it’s pretty much out of the running for me. I’m a little old lady and don’t like staying up past 9:00. (And you can get off my lawn. If I had one, I mean. Dan is aiming for a pollinator garden. But I digress.)

TV Series

When it comes to TV, I hate to start a series because I realize I’ll never keep up with it every week. This doesn’t apply to series that have already finished. Often, old episodes of House, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Castle, Inkmaster, Chopped, or Bones are shown for several hours a day, and those I can tolerate multiple episodes of. (That may sound counterintuitive. The difference seems to be that I don’t have to pay attention to them. I usually have them on when I’m doing something else like writing. They’re just my emotional support background noise. But I digress again.)


I used to be able to tolerate series of books. I devoured The Lord of the Rings, Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series, Sue Grafton’s Alphabet books, and other long-running written endeavors. Not anymore. I buy many of my e-books from discount sites for $1.99 or $2.99 (because I’m cheap). Many of them, as you might suppose, are not exactly scintillating. Some of them are so dreadful I give up on them well before I reach the denouement.

(One of the first ones I ever committed libris interruptus on was a horror novel that started by introducing the protagonists. They were perfect. Perfect looks. Perfect jobs. Perfect house. Perfect marriage. Perfect kids. By the end of the first chapter, I was rooting for the monster, which hadn’t even shown its tentacles, fangs, slime, or whatever. But I digress some more.)

I recently discovered that even book series I love can be too much of a commitment. I recently reread the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings, but couldn’t jump right into The Silmarillion. I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and set out to reread them all, but pooped out after book ten. I needed a break (a la Friends) and haven’t come back to finish the other four. Yet. I have a feeling that after 600 pages of Midnight in Chernobyl, my current good read, I’ll be ready. (I hate the phrase “a good read.” It sounds too much like saying someone is a “good lay.” But I digress yet again.)

I haven’t even reread my own books (Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us). They don’t constitute much of a series and would make a terrible movie. But that’s not the reason. There’s a terrible typo in the first one, and I’m afraid I’ll find one in the second as well. If I weren’t depressed about the slim sales, that would do it.



Janet Coburn

Author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, Janet Coburn is a writer, editor, and blogger at butidigress.blog and bipolarme.blog.