Passion – The compelling force of any kind of feeling or emotion.
Episode Eight of Create Your Life Story is about the Passion that is the energy behind all great stories. It is a term used in various different ways but for the sake of our discussion I like this version from the Macquarie Dictionary:
Passion – Any kind of feeling or emotion as hope, fear, joy, grief, anger, love, desire etc, especially when of compelling force.
With the richness that is everyone’s life some things are going to float to the top as passions and these will be the elements of a great story, they will also be defined by the elements quoted above, good and bad.
Your life is full of everything that you have done and the memories of those things are often all that you need to rekindle your passion for them. Then it’s all about telling the stories as we laid out in the last episode.
We need to look at the subject of passion in a couple of different ways. Primarily, the passion of the person who’s life story it is and secondarily the interests of the listener.
The passions that fill a life with joy…
- What are the passionate interests that they will talk incessantly of?
- What are the fascinating elements of their life that others are interested in?
Strong feelings and passions can be of the difficult times in a life…
- What are the experiences of life that are difficult but are still able to be shared?
- What are the things that others are interested in that maybe are not mentioned because they are painful?
The Positive Stories
The most passionate of subjects can be spoken of easily. Asking only a casual question will start them off onto a stream of multiple subjects and experiences all interrelated to their underlying passions. They will weave the passions into many of the stories and don’t actually need to be asked many questions directly of their passions as they will be brought up as a matter of course throughout the other stories of life.
Slightly more challenging will be bring up subjects that are of interest to others but may not be high on the interest of the person being recorded. These are the stories of someone’s life that are often taken for granted. The stories of the mundane and everyday. The stories of “What was it like in your day?” Where the person could often think, “Why would anyone be interested in this?” These are often the stories of before technology when things were different to as they are now but because they lived them they are taken for granted. Then they become aware that for those listening, these stories are amazing and vastly different to what is known today. They empathise with the listener and develop a similar sense of wonder because the world has changed and they have the knowledge to share with those listening and a passion for sharing their life is created, even if routine and mundane.
The Negative Stories
Everyone goes through some difficult times, some go through truly tragic experiences and it’s important to realise that these stories are also part of a life lived. Some people love talking of these difficult times and will talk easily of them, with passion often also. Some will talk of difficult times to help others understand how things were and how things have improved, how from those challenges life is now better in some way.
Others may still have the pain and suffering of a long distant experience, although still broken from the experience they are able to communicate how hard it was and still is for them.
The most difficult times to talk of are the negative ones that they have no interest in sharing. War stories and disasters tend to be like this where only the good and humorous stories are told or they are only told amongst those who were there as they feel that no one could understand. The extreme tragedies of some lives are often very difficult to have communicated and if you have some of these stories consider what others could learn from your lessons if you can only express them.
Some things you may not have an interest in but for the sake of telling a whole life story they need to be covered. These may be the difficult times of unemployment, divorce and death or just the tedious that you have little interest in. Consider that even these times flesh out the greater Life Story and should be part of what is covered.
No one can understand another persons life 100%. In recording a Life Story we are only glimpsing a snapshot of a life as explained by someone who chooses which parts of it we are to see and how they want us to see it. Everyone will censor certain aspects either consciously or subconsciously as they see fit, everyone will have an agenda. Some will censor in a negative way, some in a positive way. Some will shut down and others will open up and in every case it’s necessary to work with what you can.
In recording yourself, knowing that there is a genuine interest in what you have to say will help you relax and let the conversation flow and help you to be open with everything you want to express. If recording someone else showing real respect and interest for the feelings of the person who you are recording will enable them to feel comfortable with you allowing them to open up and talk of the more challenging subjects. When dealing with delicate subjects respect is paramount and if they go cold when you broach the subject it’s best to put it down at least for a while. Maybe later in the process of recording when they are more comfortable with the whole process they may come around to the subject again.
When it comes to passion know that the Life Story is passionate from two sides, from the speaker and from the listener. Allow the speaker to talk of the things that fills their life with joy as these will be the richest stories of all and will tell the most about their personality. Encourage respectful openness of information to satisify the passion in the listener to hear the stories of a time before and fill the knowledge gap that they have while enabling the speaker to know that they are appreciated.
- Consider the aspects of a persons life that they are interested in sharing
- What are the parts of the Life Story that others would love to know about
- What difficult times are there to consider and how can you broach these subjects
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