A Passion for Passion

I love passion. I’m not talking about romantic passion (Although I like that, too). I’m talking about the enthusiasm and drive and single-minded focus that people exhibit when they pursue a goal or cause that is near and dear to them. Passion doesn’t exist when you like something (i.e. I like chocolate, dogs, and the beach). Passion only becomes involved when you love something, you can’t live without it, and you can’t think about anything else.

Over the years, I have shared stories of my friends who have followed their passion, and who are pursuing it with all their might, devoting their time, money, and energy to creating or accomplishing something that they feel compelled to do.

For instance, my buddy Randy Pobst has devoted his life to driving race cars, and now writing about races and race cars. His pursuits keep him on the move constantly. During the week, Randy can be found testing cars or creating videos for Motor Trend magazine. On weekends, this former professional race car driver can be found at one or another race track competing in amateur races. He doesn’t get paid to race anymore, but he still shows up because he loves racing so much. Randy spends twenty-five to thirty nights on the road each month. It’s a crazy lifestyle, but I don’t think he would (or could) live his life any other way. He absolutely loves what he does. He has a passion for it.

Grant Peele is another guy who is living his life based on his passion. Grant tried a lot of ways to earn a living. He owned rental properties, ran a used car lot, had storage units, even owned coin-operated games that he placed in bars and restaurants. He was chasing money. Today, Grant is a filmmaker, having worked on Emmy-nominated shorts as well as full-length documentaries. He tried to deny his passion, holding it at bay while he tried some other things to pay the bills, but he finally gave in. His passion for telling stories on film has taken him all over the globe, and he has shared his stories with millions of people. Becoming a filmmaker wasn’t easy. And maintaining the filmmaker’s lifestyle, traveling away from home all of the time, still takes its toll. But telling stories is what Grant was born to do. He has a passion for it, and feels compelled to do it, no matter the costs.

When I was writing Driven: A Novel, I was thinking about people like Randy and Grant and others who have devoted their lives to their passion. I wanted my main character, Alex Booth, to be the same kind of guy. Alex has a passion for auto racing. He eats, sleeps, and breathes the sport. What he doesn’t have is the money he needs to pursue his dream. So he makes the decision to smuggle drugs to get the money. It’s not the choice most (or many) people would make, but such is the power of Alex’s passion. He’s a generally well-behaved guy who always colors inside the lines, but his desperation to feed his passion leads him to make some decisions that allow him to pursue his dream. He  gets wealthy in the process, but his decision leads to some bad consequences he doesn’t anticipate.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a little bit more about Driven. In the book, Alex isn’t the only one who has a dream. How each character reacts when their dream is threatened or when an opportunity to realize their dream presents itself is what really interests me about this story and these characters. More on that tomorrow.

Just two more days until Driven: A Novel is published. Things are getting exciting.

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