Elvis Costello takes songwriting past passion, past profession and somewhere toward the clinical neighborhood of pathology. I once knew a guy named Donny who wrote 700 poems in a single summer about a girl who had hurt him. All the poems were bad – crude little knots of sad and angry with no form, no detail, no feel for the nodes of experience – but the achievement in toto was impressive. The man who wrote “I Want You,” rock ‘n’ roll’s most obsessively precise and precisely obsessed song about obsession, would have commended Donny on his motives and his immersive madness but would have scoffed at his stamina and the poor tone of his jealous imagination. Still, the bad poetry worked. It helped Donny realize that he felt this way because he liked to. He got past it – either changed his way of feeling or learned to accept and manage this part of himself, I don’t remember which – and went on to a normal life, with a Facebook page and everything.