Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sharon Wildwind

Two Sundays ago I was glued in traffic, a situation, unfortunately, no longer restricting itself to weekday mornings. It was like being in the middle of a piece of cloth being woven, with the warp being parked and moving cars and the weft being pedestrians who hurled themselves across the street at random to reach the ice cream shop, bakery, or plethora of small restaurants that particular part of town offered.

Distracted as I was avoiding bits of pedestrian and double-dips of mango swirl lying across my hood, I couldn’t give the CBC radio program, Spark, http://www.cbc.ca/spark/ my full attention.

Spark is a program where technology and culture meet. One of their guests that Sunday was a tech-savvy person who seemed to be saying very sensible things about blogging. When I got home, I tracked the program down and found out who he was.

Merlin Mann, http://www.43folders.com/, wants us to get back to work. He sees technology as a big advantage and big time waster. He has ideas about how to tame the techno-monster and return to what humans should be doing, which is being creative, passionate, and brilliant.

His blog formula is simple.

Blog = obsession x voice

Love something passionately. Talk about it in an intelligent way.

I was struck to realize that I’m wasn't sure if I had a passion, outside of family members and friends, whom I love deeply and who are not the least-bit suitable subjects for my blog.

I spend hours every day writing or running my writing business. I’m obsessive about returning library books on time. I make it a point to show up at my day job, clean, presentable, and competent to do the work. I watch a large number of British mystery shows on DVD. Well, okay there is one character in Blue Murder that gives me palpitations, but that touches on lust, not passion, so we’re not going there. I have fiber and paper hobbies that threaten to take over my office and wend their way down the hall.

But passion? Real gut-wrenching, loving highs and hating lows, I’ll die if I can’t do this passion?

The real surprise to me was that I couldn’t identify a single passion because, as the kids say, “it’s all good.”

Passion runs through my whole life. I have as much passion for my characters as I do for my family and friends. The reason I spend hours every day on writing or business is that because I’m passionate about being a writer. Nothing else would suit me as well at t his time in my life. My obsession isn’t about returning library books on time—though there are those pesky fines—but because I want to see what else I can check out. My day job is stressful, but it’s also very satisfying. What I can make out of cloth and paper is another way of connecting to other people and the world.

As for that character on Blue Murder, well, he smokes, doesn’t he, and nothing dampens my lust faster than the smell of old, stale smoke. So maybe life isn’t perfect, but if the personal hygiene habits of an imaginary character is all I can find to complain about, life is very good indeed.

I'd love to stay and chat more, but I've got places to go and people to see. Like most mornings, it's time to hit the ground running. That's what I call passion.

Writing quote for the week:

Above all: whose attention will you reward with the best thing you can possibly make today? Good. Now go, and reward the shit out of them.
~Merlin Mann, techie expert


Dan Misener said...


Dan from Spark here. Glad to hear you enjoyed Merlin the show, and that you were able to find what you were looking for on the website.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan. It was a great program and I'm sure I'll enjoy it even more when I can listen to it NOT stuck in traffic.

Julia Buckley said...

I can't name a passion either, Sharon. I think I'm a Stoic. But there are many things to which I am quietly devoted. :)

And I must say I used to return library books on time, but my children have corrupted me, and now we never seem to know when they're due.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I think my whole life these days is about passion too. I usually call it "having an integrated life," meaning that everything I do (beyond the inevitable frustrations and maintenance chores that we all share) is meaningful. What I actually do is just symptoms--or the warp and weft, if you prefer. Three of those symptomatic activities--mystery writing, online therapy, and poetry--share another characteristic: they're all occupations about which everybody says, "Don't quit your day job!"

Sandra Parshall said...

I'm not at all sure I would call my writing a passion. I am far more passionate about animals and their welfare than anything else I can think of. All animals -- from the beautiful giant pandas threatened with extinction in the wild to the stray cat my husband and I are currently trying to find a home for.

Anonymous said...

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