Passion was flowing all weekend. At the Victoria Film Festival, passion was on display for movies and all its creative channels: writing, directing, acting, producing, etc. Director Bruce McDonald (Trigger; Hard Core Logo 2) was a joy to talk to, and the delighted faces of film buffs as they posed for photos with their cinematic idols sent ripples of excitement coarsing between theatres.
I was also fortunate enough to sample the passion that Executive Chef Rick Choy and his staff poured into a feast of sumptuous creations for The Pacific Restaurant’s celebration of Chinese New Year. Every bite was a new discovery, and to have each course paired with a special tea from Silk Road was an extra kiss of delight.
Too often, we consume so fast and with so little thought that it´s easy to forget why great food and great film is art. In the right hands, a meal becomes a feast for all the senses, and a movie (like Trigger) lingers long after the theatre lights come up.
Taking time to enjoy the journey is the secret here. Passion, in all its wondrous forms, is a fuel that burns so hot and fast within our blood that it can quickly become obsession.
I saw it in the eyes of the film buffs as they touched the sleeve of a famous director just to absorb a little of that rabbit-foot luck that all creative people need. I meet a lot of actors, musicians, artists, dancers, writers and other creatives. I’m drawn to their flames like a moth because they tend not to judge the crazy, against-all-common-sense obsessions that we creative types call normality. But like the aforementioned moth, the dance around that flickering light can burn just as easily.
I first became obsessed with a passion for writing when at around the age of 10 or 11, I wrote a short trilogy of plays based upon one of my favourite cartoons of the time: Hong Kong Phooey. I wrote the first play and cast my friend Steven, the handsome girlizer (too young for womanizer) of the class in the lead role. (He completely missed the irony of the casting, which was just as well). The play was a hit, and when the class laughed at the jokes, I saw the path that I wanted to walk as clear as a beam of sunlight cutting through a storm cloud.
From there I became obsessed with writing: poetry, plays, short stories and, beginning in high school, novel-length fiction. Now the trouble with any creative path is that it sounds more wonderful than the reality. An unshakable belief in “what you were always meant to do” can lead to a dark place when you realize the world is cruel to the fair of heart. Fortunately, that same practical gene that told me to take the reins back in elementary school guided me into a passion for journalism and, as such, a sensible and rewarding way to make a living.
My obsession for fiction never left me, but journalism tempered it and allowed me not to be consumed. And when I fell in love — and with the wondrous birth of my daughter — I was able to see that the best part of life is taking part in the now rather than dreaming of “what could be.” But like all better halves, my bride saw that to be whole I still had to follow all of my dreams. And I do.
Now, when you look at yourself in the mirror of life, I want you to uncork that dream, follow your passion and make it a reality, but don’t ever forget to enjoy the journey along the way.
Song stuck in my head
“Meaner Than You” by United Steel Workers of Montreal. Digging deep into the dark soul of blues, roots and foot-stompin’ cajun with lyrics that will make Tom Waits wonder if he hadn’t written it, USWM make you want to hear more. M