I invite anyone reading these words to take this quick challenge:
choose something that makes your heart beat stronger. Write it down, explain in a sentence why you love it, then run with it. Let it take you where it wants.
Say music is the passion, the beat, bap! with the right note laid thickly against it, there’s nothing to compare. We call things “like music” in order to convey ineffable levels of grace and delight. Without music, just noise. Music sweet music, soothing savage breast and beast alike. On the wings of a song, every desire anyone ever had. Without music, no dance, and gone, most grace.
Or take, say, logic. My passion is logic, so needed in a world of competitive noise, senseless violence and a troubled dance for human connection — to clear a path through the chaos for a moment’s relief. Once I’ve grasped the logic of something at least I’m no longer perplexed about the cause. Take Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We’ll use that for a thought experiment:
Assume I tell you the same story one hundred times, the same beginning, great excitement over unlimited potential, same middle, everything going fine but something nagging, inevitable as death, same treacherous cataclysmic ending. Identical in each story are my actions, virtually interchangeable the other person’s actions. That I take pains to weave this seamless chronicle of betrayal would tell you the larger story of my life.
You can predict that these repeated experiences with disappointment, the tremendously built-up hopes always dashed in a close variation on the same cruel theme, will leave a person more susceptible to bitterness than the average person. Here’s a hypothetical to flex between your back teeth: a possible cause of compulsively repeated painful behavior.
Imagine the case of character A_________. A_________, the youngest child, is routinely ignored at the dinner table. His older siblings hold forth, sometimes pick on him when the parents aren’t around, punish him when he squeals on them, his parents dote on the others, and often tell him to be quiet, wait his turn. A kid in this situation may easily begin to feel starved for affectionate attention. There are millions of people in A_________’s basic situation, in every culture, on every continent.
The random people they interact with will make all the difference in how their lives turn out. A mother or father who is generous, calm, one who listens well, or that kind of grandparent, or best friend, or teacher, alleviates a lot of the child’s pain as the child grows up. A parent who’s overwhelmed, angry, preoccupied will not do as good a job in this regard. All parents are some fluctuating combination of these and other types.
Unless A_________ gets some encouraging outside help, he will grow up convinced that basically people don’t care about him, perhaps nobody cares about anybody. He can give you a million examples from his own life of why this is so, with ten irrefutable illustrations of each example. A____ is like my father, perhaps, whipped in the face as an infant, somebody who may realize, after a lifetime angrily defending himself, that he never stood a chance in this world, that it wasn’t his fault. Or a thousand gradations, from atrocity to inconvenience to tolerance and calm.
Maybe it’s a passion for interpersonal relationships. Most readers and writers do what they do out of a desire to connect with others. Words from my heart, through the light filter of my mind, into your eyes, back to me. It’s magic – sending messages of power and complexity through symbols we’ve evolved to make units of meaning we call words. Language is a miracle, created by that deepest human need, to love and be loved in return. To be understood, and cherished, by another, a yearning that goes all the way back to earliest animal consciousness.
That’s why babies are always so much cuter than their adults. They are created to be lovable to their parents, so the parents will take care of the baby while it is helpless. Babies of every species who are not as cute have tended not to survive and reproduce. Intelligent design, wot.
So the invitation is open, and I hope you all will take it, and drop a line, or better still, leave a comment below this one. a comment others could feel free to add on to. I am flooded by Zora’s oldest of human longings, to make myself known to another. In cyberia, that takes on strange and mutated forms. But hey, might as well dream.