It's a dangerous thing to ask someone about their passions. For one thing, passionate people can talk your ear off! But the lovely editors at Redroom did just that. They asked us to answer the following question.
"What are your obsessions? Your passions? Your fixations?"
Believe it or not, I didn't really think about this until early this year. If you'd asked me before then, I would have said, "I'm passionate about writing, period."
But is being passionate about an art form--in and of itself--really enough? What is it that I'm actually trying to SAY in my writing?
I know I love books, language, and good storytelling. But I discovered this year that there's one overwhelming passion that informs what I write.
I love people.
People FASCINATE me. What they do, why they do it, their loves and hates and hurts. I'm intrigued by why people lie, and the way they lie, by how they can try to do the right thing and still screw everything up.
And I'm consistently blown away by the uniqueness of people. Sometimes I feel like an etymologist who has just discovered that there are six billion new species of butterfly in the world. And no two of them eat exactly the same thing, look exactly the same or behave exactly the same.
I want to study ALL of them! I have so many questions.
What motivates a young girl who gets drawn into drugs and alcohol and partying?
How can two people love each other and still have a misunderstanding that leaves them estranged for years?
What does it feel like to be elderly and have the world change so rapidly around you?
What would it be like to be raised in a refugee camp?
To be the unsatisfactory child of wealthy parents?
To know only one other person with your color skin?
To be so afraid of something that you become bitter and hate-filled?
To live on the edge of starvation?
To struggle with obesity your whole life?
To have a history and a heritage that goes back thousands of years?
To not know who your father or your mother or your grandparents were?
*stops and takes a deep breath* (See, I told you this was a dangerous question.)
So I write, and I love writing. But I love writing primarily because it allows me to study people and say things about what it's like to be human and create characters that can be known, in a way that few real people can.
That's my obsession.