Passion Play

Not long ago, a friend recommended we watch “Somebody Feed Phil.” The Netflix documentary series follows Phil Rosenthal, the creator of “Everyone Loves Raymond,” as he travels and eats his way through various countries around the world. The show is a wholesome, family-friendly version of Anthony Bourdain, only unlike the sometimes cynical approach Bourdain took, Rosenthal is unabashedly positive and overwhelmingly enthusiastic. We liked the first episode so much we quickly watched two more. Now, “Somebody Feed Phil” is a show we turn to when we’re ready for a TV break.

Around the same time as we discovered “Somebody Feed Phil,” I was asked to write an article about a local artist, Sheila Warren (if you haven’t discovered her art, go here  During our interview, Sheila talked at length about the passion she has for her art, adding that if she doesn’t have a strong emotional connection to her subject, it will show in her paintings.  

As I watched Phil eat his way around the world and then later visited Sheila at her gallery, I realized that their passion was infectious. I felt happy and uplifted after only a few minutes in their presence. I also realized something else. Passion is fuel.

It’s hard work writing and producing a TV series, even though we don’t see the hard work when we watch a one-hour episode. It’s hard work painting a canvas, though we don’t think of that when we enjoy the results of that labor hanging on our wall. It’s hard work writing a book, which I know from personal experience, yet when I’m engrossed in reading a novel, that thought never occurs to me.

For creators, when passion is our fuel, work becomes like play. Hours are lost to the joy of the moment, to the creative process.  Passion and play become intertwined and the process is often magical, transformative. Not only for the artist or the writer or the TV personality, but also for those people who enjoy whatever we produce.

Passion as play yields powerful results.

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