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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are You Living Passionately?

Did you see the recent articles about the woman in the UK who loves Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre so much that she goes about in her everyday life dressed as her? In long skirts and a soft chignon she broadcasts her admiration for her favorite author and the resourceful character she created.

I saw the article, and it began to show up in links on social media, along with titters and exclamations of shock and amusement.

About the same time, I caught the premier of a new show on TLC. Called Geek Love, it profiled the lives of a few attendees at NYC ComicCon, emphasizing their loneliness and often awkward social skills along with their love of sci-fi, fantasy and comic book lore. It followed as they did a round of speed dating with other attendees. I saw a smaller reaction to this show online, but the premise seemed designed to elicit a sense of condescension, or even superiority.

Screw that, I say.

No, I've never dressed as Jane Austen or been to a sci-fi fan convention. (Yet!) But I send a big, fat huzzah to the people out there who summon the courage to embrace their passions. I don't see a Geek. I see someone who has conquered shyness, maybe even feelings of displacement, and embraced the passions in their hearts. Put it out there on display. And has taken steps to seek out others who share their interests.

I might be alone, but I find this courageous and incredibly interesting.

I know people who live solid, ordinary, everyday lives. Some are happy. Some worry a lot about what others think or say about them. Some can't understand why-when they've done everything they should--they still feel restless or unfulfilled. I'm impatient with them. I don't want to talk to them at parties, meet for coffee or invite them into my home. I like people with passion. And I don't just mean sci-fi enthusiasts. Give me a conversation with a civil-war re-enactor or an avid hunter or a weekend motocross rider. Do you love history? Art? Books? Are you a quilter, a traveler, an amateur theater buff ? Come sit by me. I want to hear about your pirate alter ego, and share in your enthusiasm and joy.

I may be biased, as I took my chance when it came, left a mainstream career behind and followed my love of history, books and romance. I'm married to a guy who loves his job and enjoys multiple hobbies, mother to kids who have followed their interests into unusual and exciting places.

And I think we should all live passionately. We should listen to Luke Wilson in The Family Stone and fly our freak flags proudly. In this season of reflection and resolution, find what speaks to your soul, embrace it, find others who share it--and then come sit down and tell me all about it. :-)

A big Thank You to the Lady Scribes--who have clearly followed their passions and found each other. I'm thrilled to become a part of your community. Now--what about you, our friends and readers? What are your interests? Are you flying your freak flag? Share your passion and I'll randomly choose a commenter to win a copy of the UK edition of Regency Rebels.


  1. I do have my own set of explorations. I have done many things but have yet to find that one thing that I am passionate about. I will just have to keep searching.,
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks for stopping in, Debby, and may you have a grand time searching for your passion!

  3. Deb ~ Welcome to LadyScribes! Wonderful blog! I do get sucked into various things from time to time. My family would use the word "obsessed" :) I get immersed in a hobby or research and that's all I can think about. And then something new comes along and I start over. Everything from the life of Billy the Kid to that of Jean Lafitte's. Through it all, however, has been my love for all things Regency England.

    So am I flying my "freak flag"? You bet! I recently received my vanity license plate in the mail. MAYFAIR, surrounded by a Union Jack frame. No one in my family finds it amusing. My brother said, "People are going to think you're British." To which I shrugged. Then he said. "You're going to confuse a lot of people with that." But my response was "I don't care. I didn't buy it for a lot of people. I bought it for me, and I like it."

  4. Deb, I love it! I used to be that person, the one who worried all the time what everyone thought about her. I have made a conscious effort NOT to be her anymore- who wants to live like that? I'm just discovering my passion for writing, although I've been a geek for reading since I was a toddler. I can talk for hours about book characters motivations or why I think the plot is so interesting...just ask my husband. I hope I don't bore you when I do, but I don't care, I'm ENJOYING myself, lol!
    I'm also learning that I love history, especially the Regency and Victorian periods. I find the Industrial Revolution fascinating. To think we have come so far in only a few hundred years, after thousands spent digging in the dirt...and off I go, hee,hee...
    Anyway, I love this blog. I think if more people found their passion, had a healthy outlet for their stress, we would have a lot less conflict in this world. Glad you're here, Deb!

  5. OMG, Ava. That vanity plate is the essence of tasteful! I can't believe your family gave you a hard time! I'll bet you get a little thrill each time you get in your car--I do when I see it!

    Thanks for the welcome! You know you can talk Regency England to me anytime!

  6. Thanks Olivia! I could sit and talk books and movies all day. What worked for me, what worked for you. What if they had just changed this? This is a favorite activity for my family. No acrimony allowed, just fun debate!

    And I'm with you on the history. LOVE research! Another topic I could go on about.

    Maybe my passion is talking. :-)

  7. I love this post. I think it's possible to go through an entire life, shying away from your dreams. How sad.

    I have two little boys. I hope that the way my DH and I live shows them that they shouldn't be passengers in their lives. Be the driver. Take those reins.

  8. Welcome to the Lady Scribes, Deb! We're thrilled to have you.

    Outside of my writing, I'd have to say that my biggest obsession (and yes, I do mean obsession) is hockey. I watch games from home, I go to games, even if I'm by myself, I read hockey blogs and news sites, and I follow hockey teams, players, and fans on Twitter. I'd say I've let my freak flag fly pretty well on that score. :)

  9. Hi Marnee--I'm glad you enjoyed it! I have two boys too. They do tend to be exposed to a lot of activities, between the dh and I. We actually had a parent call us up once and demand that our youngest stop telling lie in school, because there was no way that he had been doing all of the things he was reporting, and it was getting her kid all riled up, wanting to do them too.

    She was shocked and disapproving when my dh told her it was all true! LOL!

  10. Thank you, Catherine! I'm so glad to be here.

    Oh, we have friends who share your obsession! Their house is filled with paraphernalia. I love to go over and hear the history of it all. We do enjoy going to the 'Cane's games, but none of our love goes as deep as yours! Fly that flag proudly!

  11. Deb ~ I forgot about that story with your youngest. How funny! No one has ever called my house to get my son to stop lying about his many adventures (or maybe they have. I don't really answer the home phone. No one who knows me would ever call on that line.) But there have been kids at school who haven't quite believed all the stories my son has shared. Again, all true, my little (or not so little anymore) world traveler.

  12. What a lovely post. THANK YOU! I agree, passion should never be smothered to just fit into a box. It should be encouraged!

  13. Welcome to LadyScribes, Deb!!! So happy to have you and your gorgeous book covers here. :)

    There are many things I'm passionate about: politics, religion and current social issues--only they fall under "don't talk about in polite society" or "I like having friends". ha!

    What a great first blog post, by the way!

  14. Yes, Ava--you do have the most well-traveled teenager I think I've met! He's a lucky kid!

  15. Thank you, Marquita! I know a blog isn't the spot, but spirited debate about all of that is the best--as long as people can open their minds and hold on to their tempers!

  16. Great post Deb! I totally agree with you. Passions are what make people interesting. I'm a traveler, or more accurately, I wish I could be more of a traveler ;). Life doesn't always leave me with the ability to get where I want to go. That rush of anticipation I get when I'm in an airport, waiting to go someplace for the first time is just one of the best feelings ever.

    I also agree with Olivia. If more people followed their passions and weren't so afraid the world would be better place.

    P.S. I love comic books. I didn't see the TLC show you talked about, but if I could go to Comic Con, I would... in a heartbeat. ;)

  17. What a wonderful post, Deb. Passions...hmm. Writing, of course, but a close second is solving puzzles. I almost always have a jig saw puzzle going. The cats love to help me with them, so I tend to fly that flag behind closed doors. And it's probably why all of my books have some mystery. I truly love a good puzzle.

    And eating lunch out. Maybe it's a strange passion, but there's something truly decadent about cozying into a booth to read, to get lost in whatever world an author has created to share with me.

    L. j.

  18. We should totally plan a trip to one of the more local cons, Kaylee! I would love to go to one. The kids have heard great things about the bigger ones, like DragonCon etc, but it would be nice to do a smaller one, too, like the one in Charlotte. Road trip!

  19. Hey L. J.!

    Hope you are well and warm! Ooh, puzzles are a good one. So relaxing! And after writing, which can be such a long process before your book starts to take shape, (or maybe that's just me!) I'll bet it's nice to do something that has more instant results!

    Going out to lunch is a passion I could definitely get behind! :-)

  20. I totally agree--letting your freak flag fly is awesome! I hate all the condescension toward people who make their own path. I have a lot of interesting friends who make their own paths, and I say, "good for them!" I think the only thing interesting about me is the romance writer thing, but I do have a passion for miniatures. Just haven't had much chance to indulge it!

  21. Yes! Yes! Quitting my "real" job and working my wacky assortment of odd jobs that allow me to write "full time" has been the best decision ever! It gave me a whole new perspective on life, and now I too am drawn to others who have thrown caution to the wind, shrugged their shoulders at public opinion, and just done whatever the hell they wanted to do in the first place. I used to have one job I went to every day and just dreaded. Now I do all sorts of things, meet all kinds of people, go to conferences... and feel like a kid again. And miraculously, I still get paid for most of it, so the world did not in fact end because of leaving the Evil Day Job (full disclosure: I am still on my husband's insurance, or this wouldn't have been possible).

    Side benefit - now that I'm no longer bothered by what other people think about what I'm doing for "a living"? I'm suddenly kinda cool for the first time in my life, because I'm finally confident about what I'm doing. Wish that'd happened about twenty-five years ago, or at least BEFORE all those student loans :-)

  22. I had to post when I saw the clip from Geek Love. I met and married a geek who shares with me a love of British comedy and science fiction, and who works with my daughter's robotics team as happily as he sings in the choir. He thought nothing of driving with me 9 hours to Lori Foster's Get Together, and loves to cook wild concoctions. Add to that my love for reading everything and starting projects from woodworking to crochet at a moments notice, and you can see why we produced a kid who is open to other peoples ideas and passions, and, BTW, thinks the person you mentioned at the start of this post is lucky to be able to dress up and live her life as she likes. She reminded me that there are many places in this world where (especially as a woman) flying your freak flag could get you killed, and she says that is even more of a reason to do so when and where you can if you are lucky enough to be able to.

  23. It's wonderful to welcome you to the Lady Scribes, Deb! Wonderful topic - from a self-described dork :) My sister and I will do anything that makes our hearts happy, even if it earns raised eyebrows from strangers :) Cartwheels at stone henge, sledding on a garbage can lid on the driveway, random performances of broadway songs - you name it! I think it is important to put aside fears of what others will think, and live our own lives out loud!

  24. Besides my mad addiction to historical romances, I love to Cross-Stitch. And I could rattle on and on about it for hours. I Don't have any friends except for two who I rarely see who stitch though! I just keep on stitching and having a good time, all by myself! Thanks for sharing with us today!

  25. Thanks for stopping by, Sabrina! I strenuously object to the notion that writing is the only interesting thing about you. I could make a list about a mile long!

  26. Delphine, so nice to meet you here. You sound like you've made a change that makes you so happy! I'll bet it gives you so much writing fodder, too. And confidence is definitely the coolest thing.

    Wishing you the best!

  27. Hi kaisquared! Congrats to you for having the luck and perception to find such an amazing guy! He sounds wonderful and I'll bet he's just as thrilled to have you! Having someone there being positive and supporting your pursuit of passion is definitely one of life's biggest blessings.

    And thanks for the reminder that we do have sisters and brothers out there who are not free to follow their passion. You've inspired me to do some research about this . . .

  28. Hi Erin! Thank you! I'd say you are a shining example of the will and work it takes to follow your dreams! I think we are all thrilled to be experiencing it with you!

  29. Hi Johanna, it's so nice to see you here! It's been a long while since I've seen you in cyber space! :-)

    Oh, I like to cross stitch too. It's one of the hobbies that fell by the wayside under the onslaught of kids and writing. But I have a couple of small projects that I finished. My s-i-l has done some amazingly large and intricate pieces, including a wedding wish that hangs in our bedroom.

  30. I'm coming in a little late on this, but Deb!!! What a wonderful blog! My heart felt a pang when you refused to join in on the sniggering about people who march to a different drummer - You saw them as courageous and passionate!!!

    I, too, am very glad you decided to follow your passion. Keep writing your wonderful books!!!!

  31. And the winner is....L J Charles! L. J, you've won the UK edition of Regency Rebels! Send me your snail mail and I'll get it right out!

    Thanks so much for commenting, everyone.

  32. I am late to this as usual but yesterday was my birthday so I hope I'm forgiven lol. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Deb!! So glad you could join us!

    Ha I am one of those sci-fi geeks and I have an alter ego pirate personality for gaming lol. I plan to go to a sci-fi convention some day and I love being a Star Wars Geek!! I've totally embraced my unusual side and I love it.

    I met some of my best friends through an online pirate role playing forum and loved the fact that some of their story-telling abilities rival my own. And they're middle-aged men! LOL!

    I want to be a historical re-enactor someday and plan to dress up whenever I darn well feel like it! LOL. I've learned the best form of revenge against people who are snotty is to simply have a great time! I love my life! Geek that I am. My hubby is the cutest geek ever. Our entire family are gaming geeks, of course, my kids are somehow the popular kids (unlike myself at that age.) But hey I can forgive them because they are adorable.

    I've always believed passion should be an every day adventure and something to aspire to daily. And you shouldn't have to travel far to achieve your great passion because usually it's right in front of you. Great blog! I loved it!