Thursday, February 28, 2008


I guess this could be one of those misleading hooks, but I'm not talking about steamy love scenes. :)

I had planned on going to the chapter retreat this past weekend. I had my manuscripts all printed out and waiting for edits. I had some sketchy ideas for a series of what is now nine books tucked in a folder waiting for a brainstorming session.

Then my dog sitting arrangement fell through. (Back to that in a bit.)

I sniveled and resented and hit a few other emotions. Then I looked for the lessons in the situation, as I have learned to do the last few years. The biggest lesson I came up with: being passionate. Huh? you may ask as you scratch your head.

Back to my dog sitting situation. Some of you may know that I'm setting up a dog rescue/sanctuary. Though I don't have property yet, I do have a number of doggies waiting for a bigger place to run and sniff and dig and climb. To be exact, I have eight dogs. Finding someone to care for eight dogs is a challenge in itself. Toss into the mix that these dogs have quirks and "special needs" -- well, you can imagine this might be a bit of a challenge.

What does this have to do with being passionate? In the time I've worked at the animal shelter, I'm still amazed at the "reasons" why people surrender their dogs. When these dogs end up with three paws in the euthanasia room, my passion to save them kicks in big time. So I have eight dogs.

Passions don't have to be world-changing. They can be as pure as Lisa's enthusiasm about a favorite actor. As a matter of fact, the romance in my first release begins with a teenager's crush on a rock star and shows how these two people grow to be passionate about disadvantaged children as well as their emotional and physical passion for each other. (Aha! I did sneak a reference to love scenes in here!)

Many writers are totally passionate about writing. They write when the kids nap or on lunch breaks at work. Or they give up an hour of sleep to write. I used to envy people who were totally focused on one passion rather than spreading their energy to several as I do. Then I realized it doesn't matter. It's the experience of being driven by deep, urgent passion that gives people sparkle. Sometimes falling in love is that passion. Sometimes it's writing about falling in love. Sometimes it's saving a dog who still has love to give.

Sometimes our passions have a price. I've realized I'd better not schedule overnight trips out of town. And that's OK. Because the rewards are worth it. I have a 12-year-old dog written off as dying who trots -- trots, mind you -- down the sidewalk when we take our walks. I have a "biter" who sleeps on my pillow. And guess what? I never lack for a guy to sleep with -- even if he does have fur that tickles my nose and doggie breath!

So what's your passion? Have you given up anything to pursue this passion? And what are the rewards of this passion?


Paty Jager said...

Great Blog, Genene! And we missed you at the retreat! (Not to make you feel any worse)

Wow! My passion... isn't as noble as yours. I can't say I'm doing any one thing to make the world better for animals or humans. I would have to say my first passion is my family and friends. I have always strived to make those around me happy. Even if I am unhappy. I know that doesn't make sense but that's me, contrary.

My second passion is telling stories that make people glad they spent some time with a book and my characters. And to be sure that everyone who reads one of my books learns something even if it is miniscule.

Like I said, nothing earthshattering about it.

Paty Jager said...

Just checking the box. ;)

Lori Barber said...

Genene, great blog. My passions parallel Paty's.

I believe we can embrace many passions and at times one claims more of our time than the others. At this moment my passion for making quilts for my family has momentarily moved into first place. In the mist of creating with fabric, colors and designs, words, dialogs, and scenes play in my mind.

Lori Barber said...

Checking box.

Anonymous said...

Genene, we talked about your passion for your doggies and your dedication to them, while we missed you at the retreat. Being passionate and dedicated to your animal friends is very commendable. You go girl!

Like Paty and Lori, my family is first and foremost in my life. Loving them best is my passion. Then I love my friends too, so somewhere after that comes my other passions. But just what are they?

I love to work out in my yard in the spring and summer; planting my garden and flowers and stuff, and then harvesting in the fall and canning the "fruits and veggies" of my labors. But am I passionate about it? Hmm...

I love to sit down and write when I get a moment to myself and when my fingers start flying across the keys and my brain is over-flowing with ideas, yeah, I feel pretty passionate about writing. But am I passionate enough about writing to sacrifice for it? Hmm...

I'm definitely NOT passionate about cleaning my house; and I'm not passionate about exercising; two things I need to work on and become at least a bit more "energized" about, if not passionate. LOL

Very enjoyable blog topic, Genene. :)

Enjoy your doggies and know how much they love you for being everything to them. You're doing the right thing. :)

Alice Sharpe said...

We sure missed you Genene. Pets bring responsibilities and though my animal commitments are no where near yours, they are just as binding. I wouldn't leave them if I couldn't make alternate plans and I would seldom resent them. They're just here, loving me and the life we're able to share; besides, a dog's gotta eat.

I love this topic because I am so attracted to passion. Even if the passion is something I don't understand, say car racing, I admire someone dedicating themselves to it. Passion is very compelling and, of course, passionate people, either in love or in activities, are the people books are written about.

Yes family comes first, always. But as for my passion -- it's writing. It's the integral part of my personality and heart. It's who I am.

The sacrifices are small, but they're there. And it's okay. I would die for my children, would I die for a book? No, I think that emotion is reserved for living beings, though look at the people who are willing to die for a non-human cause... I guess that's passion x 10.

Interesting blog. "Hi" to the pooches.

Genene said...

Hey, Paty! You know, after I got past sniveling, I knew there were lessons I needed to learn from this experience.

One of them is that my passion isn't any more noble than anyone else's. It just is. In fact, it's selfish in some ways. I come home and know my doggies will totally adore me (at least until after dinner). No sick toddlers or surly teenagers. No spouse with expectations or surprise dinner guests. My situation is definitely easier, and I need to be careful not to make it sound noble or drone on and on about it.

So, enough about that.

Passion for family and friends is fascinating to me in that it seems to be an incredible balancing act.

What about happy vs. unhappy as Paty mentioned? Is that a sacrifice? Or is it part of the give and take of relationships, knowing that your partner or family is also willing to give up something they want to do to help you be happy?

How about crafting something with your own hands as Lori does with quilts? Lori, you may be crafting scenes in your mind, but aren't you also crafting love into those quilts? When your family receives that gift, isn't it a symbol of your love? That's beautiful!

And if you think about it, telling stories to educate or entertain readers CAN be earth-shattering -- or at least be the catalyst that starts the "ripple in the pond." A reader could remember one thing from your books that causes them to make a different choice or to reconnect with an estranged loved one or any number of positive actions that can change the their world. And your book was the catalyst for that.

When you think about it, just the fact that we are able to connect with another person as they read our books is pretty amazing.

I have to agree with Piper, though, that I can't seem to work up much passion about house cleaning. (Sorry, Eli! My celebrations simply cannot rise to the level of cleaning the toilets. LOL!)

I think Alice said it better than I did. I admire people who dedicate their lives to their passion -- whatever that passion is. And it doesn't have to be labeled as earth-shattering by our society to be important and compelling. It only has to be important to that person. And, yes, that is the stuff of our books.

So thank you all for being so kind about me over-sharing my passion for doggies. And it's OK to tell me to channel those passions into a story instead of climbing up on a soap box. By the way, did I mention all of my stories have a pet in them...

(As I hustle off blog to avoid the rotten tomatoes being hurled my way!)

Lisa Pulliam said...

First, I gotta ask - what's checking the box? I'm so confused!!

Fantastic blog, Genene! I love your passion for your animals. It's infectious :) Ahhh Gerard Butler. You're right, definitely a passion there ;)

Right now it feels like a consuming passion in my life is anthropology. I'm spending a majority of my free time devoted to it - school, volunteering, reading, looking at grad schools. I have, unfortunately, sacrificed chunks of writing time for it. Either for homework assignments, or just not feeling creative. I've also given up almost all of my free time.

But the rewards are more than worth it. I've found something that has inspired an unquenchable thirst to learn. I found something that encourages me to think, like nothing else has before. Something that I can envision myself doing for the rest of my life. Something I'm completely and wholeheartedly passionate about. Finding that passion has got to be one of the greatest feelings in the world!

Genene said...

Bravo, Lisa! I love your enthusiasm!

And spending most of your time pursuing your passion isn't really a sacrifice, is it? As you and others have said, the rewards are well worth any choices not made.

And then there are those sexy guys ...

Danita Cahill said...

Wish you could have been with us this weekend, Genene. I came away tired, but invigorated at the same time. And then with Eli's news yesterday, I am totally pumped to dive back into the novelist's world.

I have many passions. Writing is just one of them. I love art, photography, old cars, animals, nature and gardening, but my biggest passion is my family -- spending time with them, loving and enjoying them.

Genene said...

I can relate so much to having numerous passions, Danita. It keeps me running in different directions, but I'm never bored and never run out of things to do!