Passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, a state or outburst of a strong feeling, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Passion is a flame on a wick. Once it hits the candle, it ends.
Love, however, is an intense feeling too, but of deep affection, a great interest and pleasure in something. It’s to like or enjoy it very much. Fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, devotion. It’s a flame or a fire that never douses.
In the beginning, when I learned that I could make those odd lines printed on a paper mean something—letters, words, sentences—, I felt passion. It was power. It felt like I opened a door to be part of the world. I could read. I was ready to pick those piles of paper put together in shelves that I couldn’t reach with my height and call them books, and the books to call them stories.
But when did passion become love?
When the flame hit the and the wick but the flame didn’t quench. When I read The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas, by the Brazilian author, Machado de Assis, with a protagonist that broke the fourth wall without even caring about style, chronology, or anything. His voice just made me sit there and listen to his story.
You sit with this ghost, as he talks about his life and the things he didn’t live or achieve, his flaws and small successes. Yet, he doesn’t feel like a loser. He makes witty remarks, he talks about his life with irony and joy. He says what he means without having to say anything. And he says too much, without letting us believe he means that for real. And his pessimism hides a lesson. To enjoy life.
That was when those odd lines lost their contour, they got blurred right in front of my eyes. A few words and they started mixing in a whirlpool on the paper, and, like those falling symbols on the Matrix movies, I wasn’t seeing letters anymore, I was looking at vivid scenes, hearing the sounds of the environment, the sounds of voices in dialogues, I could decipher those sentences and BE inside the story.
When does passion for reading becomes love for literature? When letters become scenes, and silhouettes become people. When you dive into stories, instead of just moving your fingers over ink. When ink becomes drawings, and the drawings start to move.
Now, for the comments…
When did you start reading and what book turned your passion for reading into love?