|  February 1, 2012

Like everyone – I hope! – I have been giddy with passions as well as humbled by obsessions…mind out of the gutter please.

Sitting in front of an easel mixing squidgy dollops of oil paints or thrumming fingers on a keyboard mulling over words, phrases and thoughts, have for decades been my passions. Pretentious as it sounds, that in-the-zone feeling, when you are so concentrated on the immediate action, so consumed by the task at hand, so passionate about what you are about to create, that your vision becomes myopic and the rest of the world simply fades into a gentle hum and blur. That, for me, is passion…whether the end result is anything to write home about is another matter!

Passion is a thrilling beast; it consumes, it inspires, it doesn’t compromise and it can add colour, vitality and spice to life. It offers the passionate that extra little spark that elevates life from the mundane to the spectacular. Great things have been created and achieved through passion; art, literature, scientific breakthrough, or something as elusive and ubiquitous as love. Passion, to me, is something which requires fostering and at times, reigniting, it is such a special commodity that, if not nurtured can fade and die away. When passion becomes the norm, or is taken for granted, that is pretty much when it dies.

Passion can, of course, lead to obsession. And this is when things get dicey as obsession is passion taken too far; passion unharnessed. Handbags are my sad and pathetic obsession. I suppose I could have worse. For some reason the sight of a funky, quirky, antique or unique handbag just sends a rush of happiness through me. It is a weakness and one I am trying hard to curb, but there we go, we all have our quirks.

This magazine has also been my passion for over thirteen years. To you it is simply a magazine, but to me it has been my life. I have found a family in the people who have shared the journey in working here over the years, I have made friends with readers and clients who have come to mean so much to me, I have had the privilege of writing about people’s stories, exciting developments, thrilling adventures, and I have learned so much from the experiences gained. It has given me a sense of place in this growing community which is comforting and always fascinating. And that pure joy every month when I open the first copy from the printer is still, thirteen years later, indescribable. I am fortunate. Not many people have the privilege or fortune to find passion in the work place, let alone in life.

I wish all of you passion in your lives and a loving, and passionate, Valentine’s Day.

Citylife this month:
Grace Robinson takes a look at alcoholism in expatriates here in Chiang Mai, a city where drinks are cheap, driving while under the influence is the norm, life is easy and addiction rife. We also visit several collectors who passionately collect objects from amulets to ceramics, old bicycles to laquerware. The Innovative Design Awards, an initiative by the Chiang Mai Creative City, is also introduced in these pages and we hope that you get on board and help us vote for Chiang Mai’s most innovative designs. Intern Denise Van Dorp spent a few weeks with us during her holidays and we thank her for her great input this month.