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Monday, October 12, 2015

Work to Live Read to Write

It is often said that to be a writer you must be a reader. Oh, not too much in high school English classes. They worry about you not ever finding your voice if you don't just write and write and write. But when you get out of school and that novel has been begging you to become a paperback writer just to get that song out of your head (you're welcome) that is when you get the good writerly advice from the pros like Gaiman, Prachett, Wheaton and Co. Read to write.

Then life gets busy and reading falls by the wayside as a luxury of time in the face paced or exhaustive realm of the Hourly Wage. It is hard enough to find time to eat let a lone read. Quick showers and fitful sleep squeeze in between long hours. The long bath and the good read seem like Victorian trinkets of upper class life. You forget writing shortly after the reading disappears.

Live to work, that is the order of operations in this time of my life. Sir Knight lamented to me the other day that he is tired of living his life so that he is always ready to be at work only to spend 12 hour days there. Too tired to do much of anything after work, friends all working the same kinds of lives... yes, working the same kinds of lives. We do. We who are single are working so that others are home with their kids, spouses, parents, or their friends. We are working one incredibly weary job or two to get by while everyone else seems to be living it up. We live our lives to be able to work and be productive. There is no social life. There is social media until one is too tired to keep one's lids open.

Live to work.
Write to write.
These are backwards ways of living, of writing. One does not live without experiencing a variety of sensations, moments of both bliss and sorrow. A lived life is more than punching in and out on a time card. It is more than the accumulation of wealth. And for those of us who work for hourly wages, those moments in which one can breathe, experience life and enjoy something beyond the paycheck and the paying of bills is rapidly disappearing. It is a fight to find those moments.

It is a fight to get words onto paper when you have no fresh experiences and ideas to explore. Live to work. Write to write. These are vacuums. Nothing comes from this sterile environment. We must work to live. There are bills to pay. It is the pattern of our society. But we must also be able to exist in the world and contribute from the well of gifts that we each have that have very little to do with what we do to get a paycheck. We must live something of a life in order to know anything of it and to be able to write those things which are in our hearts and imaginations. The world can not function on economics alone .And not everything need be monetized to be of value. If anyone derives pleasure from your company, from the work that you produce that could be enough.

But you have to be able to live freely to accomplish these things. Life is for living. Work is only a portion of that as is writing.

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