Narrow Range of Passion vs Wide Range of Passion

Passion drives artists to create. Whether you’re sketching, sculpting or writing there’s a drive behind your creation. Urgency and intensity spark the initial act of creation — like the first outline, first draft, or first few sketches. The artist finds within themselves a burning need to tell this story — for it steals their sleep and demands to be wrenched from the soul like a tumor that will eat them alive if it remains where it is.

Or, maybe the artist just had a neat idea they thought they’d scribble down. You know. Whatever.

It’s interesting to see how different people deal with their passions — especially because it doesn’t correlate to being introverted or extraverted.

Some folks have a narrow range of passion. Happy or sad, it never gets too intense. If a family member dies, or there’s a setback at work, they’ll shrug their shoulders and say, “Oh. How sad.” If they come up with something really great, or their kid gets a scholarship, they’ll nod and say, “Oh, well, that’s great!” It’s not that they don’t feel. They’re not boring people, they just have a narrow range of passion. These folks might have a more intellectual grasp on life that gets mistaken for stodginess.

Those with a broad range of passion are much more expressive. When the store’s out of the right brand of chocolate, it’s a tragedy. When their kid has a bit part in the school play, it’s a triumph of which they’ll sing for a thousand years. Bad news will lay them low for weeks. They express their feelings with the utmost extravagance — even if they’re introverted. No matter what they feel, they feel it deep into their bones. These folks (and oh boy am I one of them) fit the Tortured Artist stereotype, and can be needlessly dramatic at times.

These two types often find each other unrelatable and frequently clash. To pick a musical example, Demi Lovato popped up on my Pandora this morning. She’s got a loud, powerful voice. When someone sings a well-known song the way she does, there’s always a backlash. Folks with a narrow range of passion would prefer to hear “Over the Rainbow” or “The Star Spangled Banner” in a more traditional, less vocally acrobatic way. As someone with a wide range of passion, this response irks me. Let her do what she wants. Not everyone needs to rein it in to the degree of, say, Blossom Dearie.

There are times — rare, precious times — when the two ranges overlap. Ella Fitzgerald can slip a needle directly into your heart and fill it with longing. A song doesn’t have to be bombastic to achieve intensity. It’s subtle and understated which satisfies one group; yet overflowing with passion that could make a grown man cry… if he were the type to do so.

It’s interesting to think about where you fit on the spectrum of these two types. How much intensity do you infuse into your life? Do you prefer an even keel in your life and your entertainments; or do you want to ride the full height and depth of each wave? For myself, I find that I have such a broad range of passion that I must compartmentalize my life into ‘safe’ places and places where I have to keep it in. I constantly try to identify which type someone is when I meet them, in order to figure out if they’re “safe.” I want to know the best way to relate to others.

In art, as in life, it’s vital to consider why the Other behaves as they do, so we can hear and be heard with the greatest clarity.

 

I heart you.
I heart you? What is that? ‘I love you’ for pussies?
– Jenji Kohan, Orange is the New Black

 

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10 thoughts on “Narrow Range of Passion vs Wide Range of Passion

  1. REDdog

    Am I a person with a wide range of passion who tends to keep a lid on things or a person with a narrow range of passion who explodes if you Fornicare Famillia? Hard to say…

    Reply
  2. toconnell88

    I frequently chastise myself on my blog for being ‘too earnest’. I think this is because I’ve been conditioned not to be open about feelings, or show too much passion or ire for my projects. I’m a pretty open person, but online I always feel the need to self-censor. Apathy totally pervades youth culture, so I feel guilty whenever any accidental enthusiasm slips out of me.

    Anyway, openly passionate people are always a hoot to talk to. I’ve said before that I will listen to anyone talk openly about their interests if they convey their passion – even if they’re a rev head! There’s something really infectious about unbridled passion.

    Reply
    1. Setsu Post author

      I couldn’t possibly agree more. It’s such a joyous experience to swim in that kind of energy. Let ‘er rip!

      Reply
  3. jumpingfromcliffs

    Oh, wide, definitely wide if given the opportunity. Although hopefully with enough of a self-aware cut-off switch to be able to rein it in when others start glazing over.

    Reply
  4. www.laurensapala.com

    ” The artist finds within themselves a burning need to tell this story — for it steals their sleep and demands to be wrenched from the soul like a tumor that will eat them alive if it remains where it is.

    Or, maybe the artist just had a neat idea they thought they’d scribble down. You know. Whatever.”

    I could NOT have said this better myself. This is so dead on!!!

    Reply
  5. www.laurensapala.com

    And I’d also just like to add that I’m definitely the wide-range-of-passion passionate type. Which is probably why I use so many ALL CAPS, exclamation points, and smiley faces in my online interactions.

    Reply

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