No one will ever say that I don't live with passion. In fact, sometimes I have so much of the stuff, it becomes a problem in and of itself–I start tripping over stacks of it or having to clear away the untidy, slouching piles of it before I can think straight and get down to work. But then, I have a problem with impulse control–at least that's how the well-meaning teachers at Holy Cross grade school might have phrased it. In my experience, people (teachers, colleagues, bosses) love to say things about “living out loud,” or “finding your passion,” but I'm fairly sure most of them don't mean it.
Admittedly, I indulge my passions with an almost wilfull disregard for propriety, preparation and personal safety that many find charmingly quirky, terrifyingly exciting and cringingly unsettling–all at the same time. And more times than I care to remember, I have emerged from some pursuit or experience or relationship humiliated, shamed, hurt, exhausted and broke. Growing up the weird, lonely fat kid, perhaps I figured I had nothing to lose; if I wound up looking foolish, I was no worse off than I was before. And sometimes, it's not finding the passion and following it that's the toughest thing, it's letting it go when you need to and giving it time to grow a little on its own. Putting away the stacks and piles feels like tearing down a castle you had built and putting the pieces into boxes and burying them for safe keeping. (A tricky metaphor, granted–the idea of a castle in boxes.) Anyway, it's heartbreaking, knuckle-scraping work
So, I understand why normal people–people with normal, respectable jobs with steady paychecks and decent benefits that they maybe don't particularly like but they don't hate, either; people who like to be taken seriously by their bosses and colleagues; people who want to see a ripe old age and have the self-control to see it through–might hold back a little. We all need to have that little voice of reason somewhere. Mine happens to be located in my husband. Rational almost to a fault, Tim has learned that trying to mold me into an equally reasonable, methodical person is like putting glasses and a professor's mortar board on a spaniel. It doesn't make the dog any smarter and after a while, you may end up getting your hand bitten.
But here is how we somehow are making it all work:
A)I come up with some cockamamie scheme; Tim tries to think of an excellent reason why I should not do it.
B) This makes me angry and I threaten to go off and do it without him.
C) Tim goes to his drawing board and figures out how I can do it with him.
D) He makes drawings for some fantastic thing.
And here is where the dynamic begins to work: the slow, methodical process gives me time to second guess myself; to see the folly of the whole enterprise; to start to back away–certain this is a huge mistake from which I will never recover. But by now, Tim is totally into it–the drawings, the budgeting, the hammers and nails. He plods along, happily covered in graphite and sawdust, until I see the structure emerge and on comes the rush of passion all anew. My castle in the air now has a foundation.
This was the booth that Tim made for Hippik. Now standing inside the 1866 brick building at 1403 Story Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky.
Passion can have structure.