“Send me your most pathetic moment, your most anything, as long as it’s real. I mean, I want the size, the shape, the feel, the smell. I want blood, sweat, and tears on these letters. I want brains and ectoplasm and cum spilled all over them. Hallelujah!” -Happy Harry Hard-On, Pump Up the Volume
One of the things I can get passionate about is passion. Because I’ve done a lot of crit, read a lot of flash, fan- and other amateur fiction, etc, for fun. In my mind, passion on the page is one of those things that can really separate someone who has a nice grasp of English and can tell a passable story, from someone who can write.
It’s like there’s a barrier there. A boundary between the author and character. You can see it in the construction of a character or situation, see what the author created and know the intention. But you can’t feel it. Sometimes I think it’s because the author doesn’t really feel it. S/he hasn’t developed that ability to write as the character, to live the story from the inside and hovers somewhere above it. In some cases, talking to writers, I know that they do feel it. Reading the work, they still feel it and they believe it’s plainly there. Only for me, the words that could have brought me and and made me feel it too never made it across that barrier.
I don’t think art is for the meek. Maybe you’re quiet, maybe you’re shy, but somewhere in you there’s that burning desire to create, to make something out of absolutely nothing, something amazing that’s born of nothing but your own thoughts. And to share that with the world. There is nothing meek about that. That’s passion. And that’s what raises your craft to art.
This post came to me as I was listening to the radio the other day. I think music is a really good place to come to understand this because music is that art that most easily reaches me emotionally. Other things are hit and miss. Maybe I just don’t see it. Maybe I just don’t understand. Maybe I just don’t connect with this artist or this particular form. But when I listen to music, I always hear passion.
There’s no halfway on the radio. (If there is, I recommend changing the station.) Every person there, working at that level, is singing and playing their little hearts out. (Okay, except maybe for that otherwise awesome Seether cover of Careless Whisper in which he sounds like he doesn’t really know what he’s singing about.) When you hear a song and you say, “That totally rocks!,” that’s you, being touched by an artist’s passion for their work.
So it’s not like I’m here to tell you anything you don’t already know; it’s just this random thought I had in the car the other day. I thought maybe, after you read this, you could go turn on some music and listen to someone else be willing to throw themselves into what they’re doing to create the moment you’re experiencing. And be inspired.