My husband makes wands. Wands for Harry Potter fans, wands for witchy types, just nice carved wands for anyone who might want to have a wand in his or her life. Last week he walked into the Witchy Shoppe in the city and sold eleven of the things in a go without even trying. He doesn;t make them because he can sell them; that was just a nice bonus. He's always had a thing for sticks and the wand thing grew out of it naturally. Now he's working on a website devoted to his wands.
Or I have another friend who quilts. Her latest project is called "Catnaps:" small quilts for cats. She has a lovely website too. But she doesn't make them because she can sell them; she's said herself that's just an excuse. She likes to quilt. More than that, she loves fabric. The quilts and the website are an excuse for her to get more and more fabric. To indulge in this thing she's passionate about.
I think about things like this and wonder where my passion has gone.
I had a lot of it when I was younger--like in high school. For music, for writing, for painting, for all kinds of stuff. Well, we;re all passionate in High School...but don't most of us keep some of that passion as we age? Whether we put it into a career or a hobby, don'e we feel something for what we do?
I don't. At least, not mostly. I do remember feeling some passion when I was working on the stories for Dragons of the Mind, but that was so long ago I can hardly remember what it felt like. Mostly, my life is one of extreme...flatness: odd for someone with Bipolar Disorder, but there it is. I just don't feel interested in the things I do. Not the way I have sometimes in the past.
I think it's weird for a creative person to feel so little. Because I can still create, but it doesn't feed me in any way, you know? It's just something I do automatically. Or don't do recently, because I'm so fed up with this whole business of finding everything so boring.
Some of it could have to do with the meds I'm on to "even out my mood." Because my fits of passion could easily have been episodes of mania. I think they were. But I also remember being into stuff without being manic about it. I don;t feel into anything these days. It's all just...flat, like I said.
Where's my passion gone? Sometimes I think they beat it out of me in the hospital. Sometimes I think it was gone before the first time I was hospitalised. Like something broke in me and though I've been in therapy for years that thing has never been recovered. I wonder if it ever CAN be recovered or healed. When I think about what I would need for that to happen I think of things that seem impossible, like selling a million copies of my book or winning the World Fantasy Award or stuff like that. But I don't know if even that would help, or if it would just provide some more outside motivation to keep going when what I want is internal, not external.
In college I wrote a poem:
Once everything was a poem.
Now nothing is.
Not even this.
That best describes what I'm talking about, Once everything was involving, a source of inspiration and creativity. Now I have to work at it all the time. Now I have to pretend, and I don't like pretending.
When I try to talk to other writers about this they looks at me like I'm crazy. I mean, the common wisdom of the time is to follow your passion--if your passion is writing then write! They can't conceive of writing without it, which I do every day.
How do you follow your bliss when there is none?