Women & Passion: A Series of Profiles

August 4th, 2008

Passion, it lies in us, sleeping, waiting, and though often unbidden, it will stir – open its jaws and howl…Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace, but we would be hollow….Empty rooms, shuttered and dark. Without passion we’d be truly dead.” - Joss Whedon

I spent decades fighting. If not with those who would have preferred my silence, then with myself, trying to twist and temper my passion into something that might be easier on the eyes, less offensive to the ears, and more digestible to those who were used to pablum. It seemed to me that the causes I fought for — namely women, children, and working class artists — deserved more honor, more space, more anger, more something than the pablum producers would ever consider necessary.

“You can catch more flies with honey,” they often told me, but the honey was everywhere, plentiful and stale, and the only ones drawn to it were the ones who owned the hives – namely politicians, publishers, and academics – who made their livelihoods drawing on lives they had never known, would never know, and could barely touch upon in any tangible way.

“Too angry,” they told me. “Too strong, too powerful, too much.” Take it down a notch, tone it down, couch it in friendlier terms. The flip side of being too much of anything, of course, is being not enough of another – not gentle enough, compromising enough, or flexible enough. At 46, I no longer fight the accusations. I’ve learned to embrace the “too much” that I am, and take pride in being passionate enough to have earned the accusations. Pablum was never my style, and while it would have been easier to go with the flow, I’m grateful that I didn’t. The truth of anything having to do with humanity is rarely discovered in an ivory tower or corner office.

The most prolific, searing, and beautiful truths come from the minds and works of passionate women. One of my favorite causes, certainly, and one that will be profiled here all week. Six women whose rooms are not shuttered or dark, but brightly lit with vision, honor, and ingenuity. Six women who have bravely rejected the “too much” or “not enough” labels, and continue to stoke the fires of their own causes, whether in music, art, literature, or medicine.

It was a privilege and a joy to get to know these women, and I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I did.

7 Responses to “Women & Passion: A Series of Profiles”

  • Passion–those that have it, recognize it and choose to live with it are the ones I admire the most. I have had the same experiences as you, Jane (and I’m sure plenty of others reading this) in using my voice, being told my voice is too loud, too blunt, too honest. To refer back to a previous post: WTF?

    Passion is NOT blind faith. It is not a descriptor to be associated with hatred, prejudices or the other vile rampant behaviors of our soon-to-fail culture. Passion hurts no one. Passion elevates.

    I have built my life to be one that promotes my passions. I have fewer friends and acquaintances, but they are of the highest quality and gloriously passionate. I am complimented for my directness and ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ views on life, until the hollow ones blanche and make excuses not to be around me anymore. So be it. My life is better for the dropping of the chaff.

    You don’t like my ‘fire’? Then move along! I didn’t ask for you to share it with me, anyway.

    Another white hot spark for the revolution, Jane. I am grateful for your wisdom, your thoughts and words, and most definitely for your passion! My many thanks.

  • The only people for me are the mad ones. Those who are mad to talk, mad to breathe, and mad to be heard. Those who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like yellow roman candles across the sky.
    -Jack Kerouac, On the Road

    in my world, Jane…you are just right.

  • Prissy?
    I am passionate.
    I Am Passion.
    Some think I spoon pablum.

  • [...] Learn More from Jane Devin. [...]

  • I’m hoping these interviews are also inspiring you to even further embrace this passion you seem to have… well, for everything.

  • You had me reading all Sunday morning Janie! I’m happy for one you embrace the too-much, because you bring such gifts to me and others!

  • [...] To read  the captivating piece Jane wrote about passionate women, I recommend you start at the beginning.  When you finish the series, I know you will find that passionate woman within yourself and feel [...]

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