– 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?
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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
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.
In French le word “work” is “travail”, which comes from Roman “tripalium”, which was an instrument of torture. 😉
Oh, I do that all the time! Add to a list so I can
strike it off!🙂