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Much of the stuff published in newspapers lacks passion. Sure, there’s ample theatricality, that studied intensity every theatergoer knows well, but little passion. I suppose passion counts as somehow unprofessional, ignoring reason and accepted logic that passes for well-formed commentary. The alternatives to passion read about as flat as a printed page, rarely elevating spirit, though sometimes awakening ire. Ire seems a poor substitute for passion.

Passion doesn’t guarantee cogency. Communicating coherently with passion, that’s one of those teenager poet dilemmas: those who feel as though they can pull it off, can’t. Like with love, deliberation ruins it. A certain kind of unconsciousness informed by considerable prior failed effort might be all that’s required, but that’s a lot.

Passion demands an active voice, a first-person presence, and a guilty-as-charged demeanor. The passionate get to own their shit as well as their Shinola®, and almost always fail to make adequate distinctions between them. They make unreliable spokespersons. They’re unlikely to consider important any conditioning of the message to the taste of their audience. You get what you see.

The most passionate might prove to be inspiring, even though they’re likely to be just about as annoying. The inspiration might require some conditioning, like dough; a resting period before the purpose gets fulfilled. I think of screaming street corner preachers, the ones so filled with some internal light that they cannot imagine the effect they’re having on the world, even as the belligerent throw verbal rejoinders. I wonder if that passionate one pities those who respond only with ire.

I am most often the dispassionate-appearing observer. I watch with little outward response, for I never know how to respond to passionate displays. I suppose I feel embarrassed for the one so disconnected from propriety; so connected to their own inner Klieg light.

My best writing emerges from a kind of passionate embrace. I feel genuine attraction to my subject, and I couldn’t care less then what anyone else thinks about it. I am not trying to impress or imprint my brand, but simply am. I am being. I could as productively just lie there and emanate, I suppose, though it feels more immersive to tap away at the keyboard, truly indifferent to any outcome.

Later, I’ll read through what my fingers left behind. This will be the first reading, not having read while in the throes. The prose will touch me or it won’t, and I’ll correct only the more glaring mis-translations. The final work might approximate the experience without recreating it. It might not pop that mysterious dimension experienced only in passion’s embrace. Though it sometimes does.

I rarely consent to write without first feeling at least an inkling of passion. I do not wrestle to acquire this sense, for my vast experience with failed attempts has convinced me that passion cannot so be so easily embraced. It must embrace first, insisting upon nothing in return. Pursuing passion thankfully makes it flee. Those who claim to live a passion-filled life can claim little agency other than, perhaps, an uncertain openness to the mercurial embrace. Once under that thrall, though, passion become a reliable traveling companion. Though one cannot productively pursue passion, productivity seems to demand passionate pursuit.

I can pass on passion’s effect on me, through the written word, the spoken reassurance, or the apparently self-less act. The danger’s displaced with each of these: side-stepped, stymied; nothing to gain, nothing to lose, and nothing, really, to choose. I think I can see passion’s footprints surrounding every inspiring idea, every enervating argument, each lame engagement. Some, she has clearly touched. Others, she merely observed, apparently refusing to touch. What she declines to touch, touches nobody. What she deigns to touch, might touch anyone open to the opportunity.

©2015 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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