PASSION

Long ago, a client asked me a difficult question: “What’s your passion?” His was the piano. The question stunned me. I loved spending time with my family, and my work kept me busy and fulfilled, but I had no answer. Things have changed.

I’m proud that my family is filled with passion. Carolyn loves acting, takes classes and auditions for film, TV and commercials in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She loves singing, too, and takes lessons. She has a lovely voice and really knows how to sell a song. I know. I hear her in the house every day.

My oldest, Seth, is passionate for science fiction in movies and on TV. He also loves video games. Seth is an incredible Star Wars aficionado. That’s why Carolyn and I, with Aaron and his husband Jeremy, flew to Los Angeles for a traditional Jewish Christmas Eve. We joined Seth to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the TCL (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Sharing Seth’s excitement and observations—about the story and the technology—made the event special.

My middle son, Yosi, loves music. You expect that from the fiddler for the band Hurray for the Riff Raff. (They play Carnegie Hall on January 29.) A percussionist at San Francisco’s School of the Arts, Yosi taught himself to play violin then followed up with lessons by outstanding professionals—lessons he still takes when he has time. You know the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” Passion can make things happen.

My youngest, Aaron, developed a passion for modern dance at Humboldt State. He took a dance course as a freshman theater tech major wanting to better understand how to light dancers on stage. Everything changed. He majored in dance and became an accomplished professional, touring all over the United States as well as Europe and Southeast Asia. He holds a B.A. in dance from St. Mary’s College.

Me? I started writing fiction over forty years ago. That “after hours” career went nowhere. With a young family and a growing business, I stopped. Yet I wrote a nonfiction book about the business side of freelancing, Solo Success, which Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, published in 1998. Then I discovered a passion for the Hebrew Bible and independently published God’s Others: Non-Israelites’ Encounters With God in the Hebrew Bible in 2009.

A decade later, transitioning to retirement, I returned to fiction on a whim. That produced Slick! Passion grew. I love telling stories. Just as important, fiction helps me make sense of the world. Of course, when a reader tells me he or she enjoyed one of my books, I’m thrilled.

What’s new? Reed, the literary/arts annual of San Jose State University, recently accepted my short story “Beautiful!” about a retired astronaut on his eightieth birthday. It will appear in May. And I completed my second—but hardly the last—draft of a new novel. I have more novels—and stories—waiting in the wings.

What your passion is doesn’t matter. Cats? Running? Baking? Sailing? Fixing old toasters? The Warriors? Carpentry? Knitting? Collecting souvenir spoons? They’re all good. To be passionate about something is to be fully human. Today, I’m passionate about being passionate.

Read the first two chapters of FLIGHT OF THE SPUMONIS here at www.davidperlstein.com. You can get a signed copy from me or order a soft cover or e-book at Amazon.com.

To respond, click on “comments” above then go to the bottom of the article.

 

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4 Comments


  1. Sandy Lipkowitz
    Jan 08, 2016

    You are a great story teller. I still remember the Halloween story you told at David and Ellen’s. You had everyone on the edge of their seat until we found out you made the whole thing up. I love your books, you do have a talent and I’m so glad it’s become a passion that you are following.

    Mine is travel. I did it my whole life and finally in recent years turned it into my business. Now I get to work at what I love.


    • David
      Jan 08, 2016

      Thanks, Sandy. Your assistance with our travel plans over the years has helped us immensely. And that’s no story.


  2. Aaron
    Jan 08, 2016

    I think it’s interesting that you mention you returned to writing fiction “on a whim.” This idea of a “whim” is really worth exploring. You’ve always loved writing fiction – you started 40 years ago, and then continued writing for the next 40 years in a different capacity. It should come as no surprise that after the responsibility for supporting a 5 person family diminished you would come back to your earlier passion.

    Does a “whim” mean that you your subconscious always wanted to come back to fiction, but your conscious mind hadn’t connected with that fully? Does it mean that you tried a number of things when you moved into retirement and then just stuck with fiction, or does it mean that you always knew you’d retire to writing fiction?

    I operate on whims also, and find that by doing so I can reconnect to what is most truly important to me, and can stay congruous with myself.


    • David
      Jan 16, 2016

      Actually it was an accident waiting to happen. I told this completely bogus story to friends over coffee about the National Basketball Association expanding to Europe—with one of the divisional franchises going to a small sultanate on the Persian Gulf. I started by reviewing the NBA’s talk over many years—nothing specific has ever been done—about eventually expanding to Europe. I added a rationale for being in the Middle East: developing opportunities for new military bases. They bought it. Finally, I revealed that this was just one of my stories. A friend remarked that it could make a terrific novel. And so, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, it goes.

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