Maybe No Passion Whatsoever

The world may benefit from my stories…but that’s a bit hard to believe, isn’t it?

Somewhere in my subconscious must be the belief that sharing what comes out of my head is a good and interesting thing. What evidence is there for this grandiose thinking?

The rejection letter received today reads:

‎”Thank you so much for sending me your work. I’m afraid, however, that I am going to have to pass up the opportunity to represent it. I am currently taking on new clients quite selectively, focusing on work that really stirs my passion. I honestly don’t feel that I could represent your work with the requisite enthusiasm in this tough market, but hopefully another agent will feel differently.”

Isn’t it amazing how a stranger can find–inadvertently–the words that goes straight into the heart?

Shouldn’t stories stir passion? And you know I don’t mean of the fake shiny passion of a Harlequin romance (which has its place in world–oh fans of Harlequin–but not what I mean).

Though it is difficult not to tie together the many forms of passion when talking about rejection. I have a passion for writing and making art. But I can hardly know if I stir passion in readers for reading what I put out in the world. And yes (nod to Harlequin gods and demons) it reminds me all too well when I was younger and couldn’t to save my heart stir passion in anyone. Even the few boyfriends I had were quite clearly indifferent.

And who among us wants the world to remain indifferent?

Well, just as I continued to go out dancing with friends or to movies by myself, I’ll keep writing stories because what else would I do? Because I did not know then, do not now, and may well never know how to stir passion in others.

It reminds me of when people tell me they don’t have a calling, a passion, a clue about what they want to do with their lives. They admit to having no hobby, no great interest, no obsession, no passion for anything in particular. “Do you have any ideas?” they ask.

I don’t know your inner workings, I want to say. I don’t have your inner map.

So. If I had to choose, perhaps being passionate in an indifferent world beats being indifferent in a passionate world. Maybe.

What do you think?


And on a side note, I’ve got an excerpt for todays story posted over at the imaginary lake guaranteed not to stir passion!

12 thoughts on “Maybe No Passion Whatsoever

  1. the writ and the wrote

    Good post. As a budding writer, finding my passion has been both easy and challenging. I put myself out there constantly and rarely stir passion. Nobody (except my bff) has told me they feel passionate about my writing. But I continue to do it because I enjoy it. I figure eventually I will hit the right person at the right time and all will be well. In the meantime, keep plugging away and doing what you love, because if you don’t love it, nobody else will.

  2. The word “passion” every day steps a little closer to the edge of the cliff, where it will fall into the ocean of other good words and phrases flogged limp with overuse. The Missus and I watch these reality shows on Food TV — people who want to be chefs, or restauranteurs, or just want to win money and fame — and in the monologues/interviews scattered among the actual cooking EVERYONE, without exception, is guaranteed to say at some point, “Cooking is my passion.” Or “making people happy is my passion.” Whatever. Then they go to the stove and do nothing but grouse about the crappy ingredients, or the missing implements, or…

    I think people with a passion for something say so only at risk of sounding, well, overwrought. It’s one of those words which should be used only by others, not by oneself. I’m not a word fascist, but if I were that would be one of my rules.

    I’ve seen all the time and energy and enthusiasm and heartbreak you’ve poured into your art, both in verbal and, uh, arts-y (?!?) form. Passion is as passion does. Speaking for myself, nothing stirs me about an artist nearly so much as recognizing how much the artist is moved, entertained, frightened, generally (and genuinely) challenged by what they’ve produced. Don’t worry, you’re doing great. Discouragement is for the dispassionate. 🙂

    1. I don’t watch reality shows but I agree about the cliff of lost words. Passion, genius, awesome, no longer contain passion, genius or awe. And usually people who start telling me they have a passion for something are people I want to avoid. The idea of passion wasn’t even on my mind to blog about…until I got that letter. At least it was printed on very high quality paper.

  3. I’ve met people who say they don’t have a passion, no main interest, no goals. I can’t imagine, really. I have too many. Sometimes I wish I could just focus on one thing and be happy with that. And I saw you rejection letter on FB. I’m jealous of you. You are out there. You are putting yourself and your work on the line. You are in the process. I’m still puttering around with my fourth draft. No queries. No sample chapters. No rejections, no possibility of success.

    Any way, here’s to passion. Not everyone is going to be passionate about what we’re passionate about. Screw them and move on to the next. Every old sock has its old shoe.

    1. Your art is passionate. I mean, I feel something when I look at it. More than just–isn’t that pretty, which it is pretty, but I can see the feeling that is in the work. That’s a wonderful thing.

      Get your draft done! You can.

      Let’s find our old shoes!

  4. All these years later I call still vividly recall how thoroughly crappy and dejected I felt upon receipt of the identical evil twin of your above mentioned rejection letter! Honestly, but it amazes me that any agent/editor would dare toss around such a tired old relic of a letter and yet claim “selectivity”. If only I knew then what I do now, which is to say that regardless of how it’s dealt, true passion (which is clearly the hand you’re holding) absolutely trumps a cheap rejection letter every time.

    Keep the faith! You’re on your way.

    1. Sometimes I wish a rejection letter said, “No thank you, but good luck. Keep writing.” That’s it. The excuses for saying no never work.

      May we both be on our way, Barbara. Thank you for reading.

  5. My heart goes out to you Mapelba. Rejection letters of any kind are hard to take.

    You asked for suggestions so, not knowing what the story is that you submitted, I will say this: You mentioned you share what “comes from your head”. I know this is just an expression, but for me, I try very hard to not come from my “head”. Seriously, if I did, I would write all kinds of stuff from Politics to Romance.

    I believe the road to stirring a readers passion is to write from the Heart. Easy to say, not so easy to do. When inspiration comes and the inspiration brings tears to your eyes and your heart starts to beat faster with passion and excitement, then write!!!! Anyone can write ideas conjured in the head as long as they have good grammar, but few can convey the passion and love of the heart. What inspires you? I mean, really inspires you?

    Hope this helps. I’ve never met you but – much love to you anyway – you probably need it after this rejection letter. . ./John

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful reply. I think my ideas and first drafts come from the heart. Then I roll them around in my head for a while trying to get them just right. Every so often I realize i’m spending too much time up there.

      What inspires me? There is a feeling I get in the pit of my stomach that is hard to describe, but when I’m reading a story, watching a film, listening to a song, or looking at a work of art, sometimes the story or image I’m enjoying goes beyond just enjoyment. It stirs this deeper reaction. All I know is that I want to create that feeling, and in my own stories, when everything comes together just right, I do. Can’t say my stories do that for anyone else, but it is that visceral feeling that really inspires me.

      Rejection takes away my energy for a while, but it always comes back. Again, thank you for your thoughts. Such kindness inspires me too.

  6. BTW – I really like what Rowena said: “Any way, here’s to passion. Not everyone is going to be passionate about what we’re passionate about. Screw them and move on to the next. Every old sock has its old shoe.”

    I completely agree. Our passion is not necessarily someone else’s but their are 7 billion people out their – someone will like what we write – we just have to find them.

    . . ./J

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