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The Jagger effect: the power of passion in writing

I watch the Grammy Awards each year because I love music. Since I was a little kid I’ve dreamed I could sing, play piano, or rock the guitar. In the early 70s, my cousin and I would ride in the back of my dad’s old Ford pickup belting out Carole King or Carly Simon at the top of our lungs. Things were different back then. I didn’t have to worry about carrying a melody, getting the words right, or even being in pitch. Now when I sing—as a grown up woman, wife, and mother—I am asked by various family members to stop—including our three cats, who begin to howl in unison when I burst into song.  Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but, really, it’s that bad.

Fortunately, each year the Grammy Awards supply our household with some much needed relief along with some stunning moments. One of my all-time favorite performances was during this year’s ceremony when Mick Jagger hit the stage with “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” his tribute to Solomon Burke—the King of Rock ‘n Soul. From the first notes, everybody was on their feet.  Thanks to our DVR, we recorded the show and  watched his performance three times. Each time, Mick brought us to tears.

What was so great about his performance? 

One word: PASSION.

He could’ve been singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and we would’ve had the same reaction. Mick sang every note as if it was his last—full out brilliance.

How does this relate to writing? We all know that a successful book involves a good story and good writing. But there’s a third component that makes a book great, that brings it to the level of a Stephen King saga or a Lee Martin novel like The Bright Forever. Again, that something extra is passion. We can tell when an author has it for his work. It becomes a living vibration that carries the words deeper into our hearts and minds.

I ask myself what would happen if I wrote with such passion. What would happen if I wrote full out, one hundred percent?  Each word written as if it were my last? Maybe, just maybe, I’d find my own brilliance and transport my audience like the Jagger Effect.

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