What is life without passion?
by Melody Thomas

What drives the public’s fascination for certain themes, stories, movies, works of art? I’m not just talking about literature that we were all told to read in high school because someone else found inspiration in its meaning, or works of art we were told were great but could not figure out why.

In fact, we might have hated what someone else loved. Both are strong emotions. But to experience passion and to be passionate about something are different.

Passion is powerful. Passion can fuel our creativity. Being passionate about something is invoked by emotion. Passion is emotion.

What is passion exactly? And what is the difference between feeling passion and feeling passionate?

As most people know, the word "passion" originates from the Latin word "Passio" which means suffering. Barring the religious meaning, which goes back to early Latin translations of the bible, the modern day meaning for passion is believed by etymologists to come from the Greek word "Pathos", which means emotions marked by the "extreme or deep, powerful, sometimes excessive." Intense anger, lusts and desires, zeal, hence the term zealot. I read once that the first sexual usage for passion can be attributed to William Shakespeare.

So, when one is passionately in love, does that mean that love is inviting suffering, intense anger, and lusts? It’s true that feelings keenly felt are often painful. There is much truth to the term “love hurts”. But is that real love or merely passion?

I believe there is more truth that real love heals and creates and forgives. Perhaps real love itself is passion’s opposite. Something to ponder.

I do know that passion manifests itself from deep within a person. I would surmise that no artist, writer, musician, ever created anything without passion behind the work. But it’s the public’s passionate feelings about a particular artist’s works that immortalized the likes of Van Gogh, Mozart, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and, in our century, authors like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers, who forever changed the publishing landscape.

Timeless movies like GONE WITH THE WIND, CASABLANCA, and yes, even STAR WARS have created an industry of passionate followers. All of us can name something that inspires or has inspired passion in us. Has someone or something inspired your passions? Do share.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Melody,
Wow, this is a hot topic!
It's my opinion that any of these terms you listed could be used to describe various passionate love affairs, but too many of them scream of passion gone to extreme, and could be used to describe crimes. That was my first impression when reading definitions: intense anger, lust and zeal. And brings to mind some of the better writers of suspense or thrillers, like Lisa Gardiner, Suzanne Brockmann, etc.
I enjoy reading these types of books on occasion, but really need to intersperse them with my favorite type of passion, that of the truly great love stories!
I think we all would love to put ourselves in the role of someone who is loved with a selfless, all-encompassing passion, as in a really great romantic story, whether it be in a movie or book. Isn't this what we all secretly desire? To be
cherished beyond anything else in life?
Melody, your heroes certainly do this! Sometimes I 'get' your heroes before the heroines, and I want to grab these ladies and shake them! "Don't you see how much he loves you?" I want to ask.
I do get involved in the stories! And I try not to hold my own personal hero to these high standards :-) He might not ride up and rescue me from danger, but he's there for me every night.
But I do sometimes like to read one of your passionate love scenes to him, just in case he needs inspiration!
Sherry

2:44 PM  

Anonymous Melody Thomas said:

Something I didn't mention in the blog, but as I am sitting here in front of my computer and looking at a Gerard Butler pic taped to my monitor, I have to say that he evokes a passionate response in me. :-) This particular picture, the sound of his voice (Yes, I have all his movies on my TIVO) was the inspiration for Erik Boughton, the devil duke of Sedgwick in Beauty and the Duke.

2:46 PM  

Anonymous Kate Hauk said:

Perhaps love resides in the conscious and passion in the subconscious. More often than not, one ACTS passionately or in the heat of passion, whereas characteristics we often attribute to love require participatory thought and consideration -- patience, kindness, etc. Both have the potential to be 'good' or 'bad' -- nothing is absolutely good or bad. Perhaps love is the map and passion is the fuel to get us where we're going; the balance of both and contribution of each are up to the individual.

However, with Gerard Butler, all bets are off -- pure passion.

2:51 PM  

Anonymous Melody Thomas said:

Sherry, you mentioned a great list of romantic suspense authors. Another author that evokes a passionate response in me is Linda Howard as well. For more emotional reading, Penelope Williamson always evokes a strong response in me. Her voice hits a chord and her stories sing with emotion. Hmmm.

2:59 PM  

Anonymous Ann Macela said:

Very interesting comments. The questions you raise are not eacy to answer. I like Kate's idea of splitting into conscious and subconscious. I don't know that we can always explain the difference between love and passion, but we know them when we see them. Of course, sometimes both have to be pointed out to us, too! Can you have one without the other between people? As usual, I have more questions than answers. Lots to think about here.

3:49 PM  

Blogger Tamara said:

My mother was a constant source of inspiration for me and that inspiration fueled many passions. Mom was never afraid to try new things and while some of these experiments ended in an Erma Bombeck-like humorous disaster, we still took some type of lesson away from the situation. Like the time mom got her first microwave (70's) and decided she needed to cook everything in it. Even that year's Christmas cookies, which were better suited for sale to the Department of Defense than they were for eating. My mother faced every situation in her life with a little grace and a lot of humor. When I think about why I do what I do and why I do it the way I do it, my mother always comes to mind.

4:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Oh, Yes, Linda Howard is one of my favs! I could list a number of other authors, too, having just finished another Roxeanne St. Claire. I am relistening to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, since I bought the audio book when the library was clearing out their shelves. Oh, boy, Jamie Frazier is a hero for the ages!
I'll have to look up Penelope Williamson, since I'm not familiar with her work.
And for Gerard Butler, my second wip's hero has his green eyes. sigh! I saw a picture of him in a Sunday paper and cut it out immediately. I rarely see really unusual green eyes, esp on men. I'd already written my hero's description, and it was a thrill to see eyes like I'd imagined.
Kate and Ann, you've brought up interesting ideas. I wonder if you can truly experience passion if it isn't both conscious and in our subconscious? Or, as I think about it, an automatic, visceral, intuitive or instinctive response? I hesitate to call it 'animal' but it can be close when an overpowering sexual passion is involved.
Sherry

4:02 PM  

Anonymous Melody Thomas said:

Tamara, your story itself is an inspiration. Thank you for sharing. How many people do we have in our lives or who we have read about have inspired us by example to be the people we are today? It sounds like you draw much strength from the example she set in her life.

4:17 PM  

Anonymous Kelle Z. Riley said:

Passion can be anywhere and everywhere. Your passion for story telling shines through in your works and makes people want to visit your worlds again and again. I, too, have a passion for story telling and until I discovered it, I confess I did not understand a passion for one's career. But that kind of passion is what fuels life-changing inventions, creates businesses and drives just about anything that we use and enjoy today. My comoputer? Might not be here but for passionate techno-geeks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Medicine? Think of the passion that drove hundreds of scientists to spend thousdands of hours studying the human genome. Art, literature, science, music, philosophy, medicine, politics--you name it--those with passion in their fields open new worlds for the rest of us.

As for passionate heros in books? What good are all the other passions if we can't have them??

8:34 PM  

Blogger Tracey Devlyn said:

Hi Melody! Great post.
I have an unusual collage of movies that I'm driven to watch over and over because of the passion vibrating between the H/H. Here's a few of my faves. Now don't laugh!
-Terminator
-Last of the Mohicans
-Aliens (2nd movie)
-Little Women
-Pride and Prejudice
-Gorillas in the Mist

Outside of this sampling of movies, I have a passion for writing the perfect phrase, or finding just the right word to make a micro-scene come alive.

Writing is my passion these days. Throw a little history in, and I'm in ecstasy. LOL

Take care, Tracey

8:36 PM  

Anonymous Kate said:

Tracey, great example with Pride and Prejudice. That was passion before the recognition or acceptance of love, was it not? All that bubbling-under-the-surface passion and right out in the open pride (which, one might argue, is also passion...). Perhaps passion leading to love is the 'classic' combination.

11:12 PM  

Anonymous Melody Thomas said:

Kate, I agree. For many P&P simmers with passion that is in many ways more powerful than the intense lust scenario that eventually turns into everlasting love and the happy ending.

Tracey, you have me with, Last of the Mohicans. Mmmmm. That movie soundtrack has also been one of my favorite mood inspiring soundtracks when I write love scenes in my books. I have written many a love scene to that movie's hot kiss scene. Fact is, I am thinking I will use that soundtrack now in the scene I am writing in my current WIP. I can use some of that mood inducing passion.

1:08 AM  

Blogger Elysa said:

I know I have a passion for writing, but at times I'm not sure if it's love or hate. After writing for 20 years, I've come to the conclusion I passionately "hate" writing and I passionately love "having written." grin

Until I discovered that "real" people wrote books and that I could do so as well, I spent all my passion (aside from my hubby) on arts and crafts projects. There's a passionate drive in me to create something, so after hubby said two kids was enough, I had to find another outlet for that passion to create.

Elysa Hendricks

9:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

My family: my husband of 48 years, six children
& spouses, my ten grandchildren, my sibs & fami-
lies, Honey's sibs & families, my dearest friends.
They all engender within me a deep and abiding
passion which I hope will live on long after we
are parted at the end of this life.

Pat Cochran

10:08 PM  

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