Friday, March 13, 2015

Sidewalk Lemonade Stands of Enthusiasm

Words beginning with the prefix syllable dis- often send you scrambling to your own inner dictionary of preferred meanings, in a hasty attempt to discover if you're going to come down on the rest of the word with a negative or positive approach to what follows.  

If left to itself, the prefix dis- can have a range of possibilities, starting at apart or away, but not precluding no or yet another prefix, non.  There are many dis- words in common and regular use, disabuse, disable, disarm, disarray, and disapprove among them, meaning you become alert to dis- words when reading or editing your own composition.  You're alerted to the need to pause in order to assign a now value for the word, relative to the way it is being used now and, of course, by whom.

Enter upon the scene one of the dis- words giving you the most concern, dispassionate.Hearing or seeing the word dispassionate reminds you of the joke about the man in a cheap hotel, awakened from a comfortable sleep by the sound of an individual in the room above taking off a shoe and then allowing it to drop to the floor. At length, awake and unable to get back to sleep, the man phones the desk to complain. "Will you please tell the tenant in the room above me to drop the other shoe so I can get back to sleep."

Dispassionate has you waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Is its intended use the meaning most repugnant to you, lacking in passion?  Or does the meaning intend a more balanced approach to objectivity.  You can relate to, even live with a balanced approach to objectivity, which you interpret to mean a balanced picture of someone, which is to say person, place, or thing.  There are times when it is political, even desirable to take a dispassionate approach, saving the passion for the larger, more  fertile details.

Passion is a great source of energy in reality and in the metaphor and hyperbole of story. Your entire spectrum of behavior depends on your relative passion for a thing out of hand, the major example being your passion for a rapid shift from sleeping to awakening, then acting on your eagerness to dress and be at the note pad, computer, or book you're eager to return to.  

A good index of this first-thing passion can be seen in the decision to peek in at what was composed last night, or to get a sentence down before it is forgotten, then approach the matter of breakfast.  If you are awake at six or six thirty of a morning and at your note pad or computer until you notice the presence of hunger pangs and the need for breakfast, you may with justification consider yourself passionate about the project.

If you are up because of dreams of steaming cups of coffee with a foamy layer of milk, a bowl of fresh fruit, some toast and cheese or almond butter, your passion for breakfast as a first cause is clear.  Your idea of a good day is a day in which passions outweigh dispassion, when the need for dispassion, such as grocery shopping or correspondence of routine necessity, is something you can inject with a measure of enthusiasm that could well turn into passion.

You understand the inherent danger of the last aspect.  Sometimes grocery shopping or routine correspondence, or such one-off things as going for a tuberculosis test which is required if you are to give your classes at the city college, will trigger a discovery of some passion which is revealed much like an unveiling, with the sense of a shroud being lifted from this occult intrigue, whereupon you are passionate about it and throw yourself directly in front of it, to be flattened by its impact and challenge.

Suppose you find yourself neither passionate or in a dispassionate state, neither enthused and intrigued nor mildly curious or in search of an attitude?  Experience has taught you to regard this intermediate state is the perfect time to read from the pile of unread books or magazines in your reading area or decide on a particular bit of music, then settle back to listen in the certainty that this will put you in a form of passion-driven energy.  If your first reaction at scanning your available music is one of indecision, you switch to your default, which is any unaccompanied piano or violin work from J. S. Bach.

Passion means a focused admiration at once strong enough to occupy your full attention and energizing to the point of enhancing all your senses.  You are looking for things to remember, understand, converse with, and become.  Passion is the openness of self that causes you to see yourself as an unlimited resource, nourishing itself on all it sees and becoming eager to set up sidewalk lemonade stands of enthusiasm to share with passersby.

True enough, passion is hard work, often draining work, but if you are not here to do this, what are you here for?

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