By Maria Nilsson

Passion - Emily Brugman

We all have different passions, different things that make our hearts swell; and this part of the beauty of being alive in such a diverse world! Imagine if we were all the same. 

What are you passionate about? Email or DM us and share your passion with Atmosea! 

This week we are beyond excited to introduce to you one of our muses, Emily Brugman. As humble as they come, every time we hang with her we are left in absolute awe. With effortless style and a smile that reaches beyond the horizon, Em is a woman passionate about surfing, writing, reading and all of the good things in life.

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What does passion mean to you? 

A Spanish friend once told me that Australians have lemonade in their veins instead of blood. That we’re not a very passionate people. I’m fairly mild-mannered, so maybe that’s true? Either way it’s a pretty funny burn. But maybe passion is that moment when the lemonade starts to fizz. When you’re struck by curiosity or intrigue, desire or excitement. When you figure out what you’re passionate about, you want to do that thing over and over, because it offers some kind of joy and fulfilment. 

What are you passionate about? 

Many things, but especially reading, writing, surfing and music. I am pretty deep into the writing of a novel at the moment (I have been working on it on and off for about 5 years). Whenever I have a day off work I’ll spend a good chunk of it chipping away at this project, and it doesn’t feel like a chore, so I guess that qualifies as a passion. Mostly I am excited to sit down and write. The plot and the characters are often on my mind, even when doing something else, like walking or surfing. Reading is a massive part of it too. Reading a really great novel inspires me, and fuels the passion for writing I think. That’s not to say that writing is without its frustrations. Sometimes you just can’t seem to extract it from yourself. Like when the waves are good but you are just kooking it every time. That’s when the lemonade boils. 

What inspired you to find this passion/how did it become so prevalent in your life? 

I think it would all stem from being read to as a child. I remember having Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie read to me, as well as many of the Little Golden Books. I loved those read-along books with cassette tapes, remember those? The story would be read aloud to you, and there’d be a magical kind of swishing sound when it was time to turn the page. I read Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen over and over in this way. As I got older I read novels like To Kill a Mockingbird and Looking for Alibrandi and loved them. I went to uni and did an arts degree, but never imagined myself attempting to write a novel. I got some promising marks back for pieces I had written and very slowly I worked up the guts to give it a go. 

Do you think identity is connected to passion?

I suppose it is. I think you insert parts of yourself and your story into anything that you spend a lot of time doing, whether that be something physical, like surfing, or something like writing. The novel I’m working on is partly inspired by my grandparent’s experiences. My migrant grandfather worked as a crayfisherman on the Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia from the late 1950s through to the early 1970s. My novel tells the story of the Finnish migrant community who came to work the crayboats off Little Rat Island during that time. It’s a moment in history that interests me, and a landscape that interests me—it is a very rugged and remote place, where families lived in corrugated iron huts at the edge of these tiny coral islands for months at a time. But I’m also interested in that migrant story. In some ways, through the act of writing the book I’m trying to connect with that fading part of my culture—because my grandparents have now both passed away—to preserve it, and them, in some way.

What is identity? Is it linked to your history and culture?

Everyone is different, but for me, my history and culture are a significant part of who I am. Finnish culture was a part of my upbringing. I spoke Finnish with my grandparents, we sang Finnish songs at Christmas time, ate Finnish food. But that is all mixed in with the Australian experiences of coastal living, of fishing and hanging on the beach, and later, of surfing. And I guess we choose how much of our history and culture we want to inform our identity. I don’t know my dad’s side of the family quite so well—they are Dutch. Maybe that’s a part of me that is yet to be explored.   

How do you define your identity?

I think it’s made up of my background, my family, the landscape in which I have lived, my friends. I am the sum of all of these parts. But it’s not fixed either – it’s always changing.

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