This week I am sharing quotes from a book I've been enjoying called Rumors of Water. Here's the second one:
"Our voice will be better developed if we spend time with our passions."
LL Barkat writes of spending time with her daughters immersing themselves in all things tea-- the history of tea, the ingredients in tea, the process of making tea. She talks about how their knowledge grew and their vocabularies increased as they studied what they were interested in already. She says, "To have a voice, a writer must have passions and a sense of place. These passions and their places infuse the writing with silvery leaves and orange peels, versus, say, ocotillo and pequins. The words of a region, a philosophy, a passion for French or French tea, come with their own sounds and rhythms and fragrances."
I am passionate about being southern-- the history, the traditions, the voices, the heritage. I hope that comes out in my writing and I know it is only enhanced when I spend time in the places and with the people I want to write about-- immersing myself in my passion. The same can be true for a great many things. Jennifer Chiaverini is obviously passionate about quilts. Michael Palmer is passionate about medicine. Stephen King is passionate about the supernatural. Amy Tan and Carolyn See and Jamie Ford and Kristina McMorris are all passionate about their Asian heritage-- yet their writings on that have taken them in a unique direction and produced very different results. Don't be afraid your passion is not unique enough-- your passion + your unique perspective + your life experience = your voice.
What are you passionate about? It's important to know that answer first. If you feel passionate about nothing then spend time discovering what gets your blood pumping before you write another word. And if you are writing, don't stop pursuing your passions, so that blood will keep pumping and your heart will be ever-present in that which you are compelled to share.