Throughout our lives, we meet all kinds of people.
We encounter the friendly passer-by, the soft-spoken, the pessimist, the forever-smiling. But the one type of person that really sticks in our heads even after we’ve walked away is the person who is passionate. The one whose eyes lit up as they talked about what they loved and made it sound so appealing that even if you didn’t like it, you had to marvel at their intensity, no matter what it was: reading, drawing, teaching, cooking. You weren’t paying close attention to that anyway, because you were watching the way they practically gushed over it, their face glowing with joy as they related to another person that which drives them to live completely. (That is what we’re all trying to do, right? Live completely?) And after the conversation’s over and you’re moving on with the rest of your day, you’re still trying to soak in all that inspiration and passion that just radiated off that other person like UV rays. They’ve rubbed off on you. They’ve sparked a fire within you. They’re so happy doing what they love; why don’t you too? The old urge to pick up a book (or a pencil, or a mixing bowl, or a traveling guide) comes back to you. For some, it only lasts a day. Others take it farther. Passionate people very often turn lives around, even if they don’t know they’re doing it. They’re only talking about what they love, after all.
I love passionate people. I seek them out- find them in the crowd. They’re not too hard to spot, really. I surround myself with them and just revel in the awesome auras they give off. There’s no greater feeling than to love life and be loving it with other people at the same time. Always ask yourself: What do I love to do? Am I doing it? I hope my answer to the second question is always a solid, definite yes and I hope yours is too. Find your passion! What is my passion, you may ask? Well, that’s easy. Writing. Writing. Writing.
To me, the passionate writer is exceptionally extraordinary. The love affair with words usually begins at an early age, with reading. It starts to unravel itself within you as you clutch a book and a flashlight under your covers at two o’clock in the morning, praying you won’t get caught being up so late. It finds within your soul a place to anchor and then takes hold of you, keeping you firmly within its grasp. You don’t struggle against it -there’s no reason to- so you just snug comfortably into its tendrils as it practically eats you alive. And let me tell you, it feels good. To fall head over heals in love with words. The transition from loving reading to loving writing is smooth, almost effortless. You realize that all the while you were reading words, there were words building up in you that wanted to be read. Thus, a writer is born.
A writer is a flower that blossoms out of absolutely nothing but passion, and needs nothing more to sustain itself. It is a truly rare and beautiful thing, growing in the most peculiar places, sometimes even in the most nutrient-depleted soil. As you unfurl your petals and look out into the world, you have to squint to take in everything around you. It’s all brand new. The trees aren’t green- they’re shimmering shades of gold. The sunlight is almost blinding, but so inviting compared to the darkness you had been enveloped in before. The birds don’t chirp, they sing. The pine needles smell like heaven with a dash of hot cocoa mix next to a roaring fireplace. You shed the cocoon of the previous life you were living and take the first step onto the yellow brick road that presents itself before your feet. The moment your foot touches the ground, the sense of purpose jumps up into your veins and disperses itself throughout your body, surging through your fingertips and making your hair stand on end. Suddenly, you’re aware of everything you are and everything you could ever hope to be.
You walk forward slowly, gaping at everything around you. The sky never stays one color. Flashes of silver and violet and emerald green shoot across the heavens like stars and the clouds swirl around like a waterfall roaring down from the gods. The ground beneath your feet is never consistent; one second you’re running your toes through blades of grass and the next water is rising up to your ankles as a stream forms where there was nothing before. It’s a natural phenomenon like you’ve never experienced. It’s as if you were dreaming ordinary, adult dreams when you took a wrong turn and stumbled into Neverland. The shores of younger days come rearing up in the west, calling out in sweet voices for you turn to gaze out into an old, familiar sea of childish delights. Old dreams, storybooks, and fairy tales once long-forgotten now bob amongst the waves and break on the shoreline, bubbling down to a white foam and jumping up like laughing children to splash in the water with all the vibrancy of lively youth. You breathe in deeply, inhaling smells of the past, when a day was just a day and night was a bridge between them.
As a writer, you’re given complete and absolute power over the world you just created- a world born from your own thoughts. With a wave of your hand, the leaves on the trees turn from green to bursts of autumn colors to bare, snow-covered branches and then back again. The sun and the moon flicker back and forth as you experiment with night and day. You need only wish for a light summer’s breeze, as the winds obey your every command. It’s a difficult concept to wrap your brain around, this sudden, all-dominating power. You find yourself daydreaming about the caress of palm leaves on your shoulder and jump as your thoughts become reality. You can paint a picture here -any picture you want- with brushes the size of telephone pools and colors that don’t exist. You can sing a song with notes unheard of in tunes from the world beyond this one. But your purpose here isn’t to paint a picture or to sing a song- it’s to write a story.
A writing desk pops out of nowhere as soon as the idea occurs to you. You sit down with a pencil already in your hand and paper laid out before you. A window overlooking a meadow gradually develops above the desk for good measure. At your will, the birds stop singing and the creeks quit bubbling and the waves stop crashing and all is silent in this perfect world of yours. Then come the words- slowly and sluggishly at first, but then quickening, overwhelming you, each crying out to be written down as your pencil can’t move fast enough to satisfy them all. You’re in a state of blissful harmony as you are repeatedly assaulted by these avalanches of words sliding down a mountainside into a small, open crevice in your mind. Come! You say happily, expectantly. I’ve been waiting years for you all. They answer by stubbornly yet lovingly slipping through you and out onto the paper, carrying pieces of you with them as they go.
You never want to leave this world, but the time always comes to part ways. Reality calls in the form of crying babies or barking dogs or an angry spouse waiting for you to help vacuum and load the dishwasher. You smile fondly at your childhood seas and the skies of every color and the fields of shifting grass and rivers and say your goodbyes, until another day. You return to your former world and your former life but you still harbor a new knowledge within you, of a place that no one else can dream of, that is unreachable except for you. You can revisit this place again and again and never tire of its timeless perfection. At any time, even if just for a moment, you can squint your eyes shut and see behind closed lids the meadows and the valleys of your Wonderland. And every time you touch a pen to paper or your fingers to a keyboard, you are transported back to that place of fairy tales and childhood fantasies and hear those old, familiar voices from the sea calling out to welcome you back home.