IMG_6152Writers need a degree of obsessiveness, or should I say passion. Single-mindedness, focus. Or to put it another way they need to be in love. At least with their subject matter, inevitably with life itself. When does a passion become an obsession? There are some fine and not so pretty lines between passion, elation, worry, repetitive thinking and unwanted, intrusive thoughts, delusions.

Translators too of course can’t help but obsess as I’ve said before.  Just as I’m writing this translator, poet, friend Anna Blasiak asks for a ‘second opinion’ on a point of grammar that leads to meaning in a poem she is translating for a Polish/Irish project. Something to do with yellow. I laugh out loud reading her email as she reminds me so much of myself pouring over detail.

So what else it there to be passionate about? What do you think of incessantly? I ask around. There are of course the Cute Things you would expect: babies, bunnies, kittens, puppies, guinea pigs, children, children, children. (I admit to ‘sharing’ about bear cubs recently on social media.) And tarantulas. Yes, they come in the cute category. De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum. There’s football of course, (though I know some would correct me and say no, there is only Arsenal); there’s Japan. (There’s the art of Shibari too which deserves a category of its own.) There are less happy thoughts, some too painful or embarrassing to admit which no one wants to speak about. Then there’s planning and rehearsing in the mind for meals, outfits, conversations, lectures, lessons, events, political campaigns, parties; guilt about essays not written/marked (depending on which side of that fence you’re on), tasks on the To Do Today list not ticked off, poems unwritten, phone calls never made…ex-lovers, dysfunctional family members, annoying people at work, bullies, will s/he phone me, does X really like me? There are fervent beliefs, new recipes, new stationery, new cop shows on TV, the fresh surfaces of never before used creams or marmite, new kinds of meditation. There is music. And there are things I had no idea people thought about on a daily basis, like where do they belong, were they right to leave their homeland to come here or about a coronal mass ejection from the Sun that travelled at over 900 miles per second and how we are merely a by product of third generation stars.

And now we have left February behind and it’s March here and there are more and more daffodils. And how can you not be passionate about that?

But just in case you didn’t believe me about the Cute Things, courtesy of my friend Angelika Hell, here’s a tarantula: