On-going reading list, once more –

– and once again; extended …

MY FIRST summer READING LIST keeps being extended & revised. Today I have been reading Donald Hall’s Life Work  (not on my list – but in my shelf for quite a while). And I came upon this (I think Hall must have had my project (or even me?) in mind when he wrote):

List-makers without exception occasionally accomplish some task which they never planned to do, and which they never put on a list.

The thing is, for us list-makers, to add the unlisted item to a list as soon as possible, so that one can have the joy of crossing it out at once: Work done!

As often happens with books I have had on my shelf for a while, I have forgotten why I bought Hall’s text in the first place, but I really enjoy reading it!

Life Work (the hitherto unlisted book) is a biographical text, a memoir that is not a memoir but a series of reflections organized around a theme–in this case, the pleasures of work.  And since Hall’s work has been to write, it is a book on writing, about writing as work. Reading the book I am struck by how often I have felt bad for spending my time writing. Through Hall I realise that I have problem understanding my work as work. I downplay what I’m doing as if there is something more important to be done, as if writing is too enjoyable to be taken seriously – as work.

And work and pleasure is not meant to be uttered in the same sentence — or?

5 Comments Add yours

  1. if you can find work that is pleasure,( and you seem to have) more power to you-in a career spanning 53 years I found work that was pleasure perhaps 15 years and was grateful – work being defined as being paid by some organization for what I was doing- of course now I won’t “work” unless it is a pleasure/service in some sense- try Donald Hall’s ‘After Eighty’ to see where he is now

    1. Sigrun says:

      In this book Hall discusses his own work up against his fathers. His father worked in the management of his father’s (Hall’s grandfather) dairy – and hated it. And because of this, he (the middle Hall) encouraged the youngest Hall to do what ever he wanted – even when the son wanted to write poetry.

  2. In French le word “work” is “travail”, which comes from Roman “tripalium”, which was an instrument of torture. 😉

  3. Oh, I do that all the time! Add to a list so I can strike it off! 🙂

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