2011: Work, play-work and more work

Yes, really, Happy New Years to you & yours (and best  for the year 2011).

Or, if you’re reading this blog from somewhere in the future, you’ll already know how it all turned out.

At the end of every year, I always seem to mention how little work I need to do for the rest of the year.

Yet, even though I get some time off my day job, I’m always working on something, usually even on New Years Eve.  Work!

I think there was an old gangster movie where Edward G. Robinson snarled “Work is for saps!”  In 1883, Karl Marx’s son-in-law, Paul Lafargue wrote an interesting tract entitled The Right to be Lazy

When it comes to work, there are plenty of  “discontents.”  Yet in ways, it’s the glue that holds the world together.  Some think money is that “wondrous glue.”  Where does that money come from?  Where does it go?

Work can be great (in ways) or it can be a drag.  These days, many people are out of work or just getting by with part-time, low-paying work.  It’s good to be able to be able to make ends me, to get by (if not “get ahead).”

At the start of each year, I think about how much work I have to do:

1. Work Work: the old “day job” (unless you’re doing night work).  This is how most of us “make money.”  I work in a university library, doing a lot of various jobs.  I enjoy doing book repair and helping put exhibits together. 

2. House Work: the “great infinite” and truly never-ending.  We sweep, wash, scrub, vacuum, organize our things, throw out stuff, recycle stuff and on and on it goes.

3. Play Work: all of the creative and adventurous work.  we dance, sing, play instruments, draw, sculpt, paint, write, make films, stage plays.  Often this is very solitary.  Yet sometimes we create with others in “grand collaborations” in musical groups, troupes of actors and so on.

4. World Work: This is what I call this work done in attempts to truly change things for the better or to make the world a slightly better place for your having lived in it.

This can seem a bit foolish, yet some of us continue to plug away at it.  These days it can be confusing.  One man’s good is another man’s bad?  Some people seem to hold opposite opinions.

If I continue try to work for the Earth, for nature, for the rights of women, children, poor people, artists, true poets (and so on) some would say this is wrong, a big mistake.  I only hope their work doesn’t “cancel out” mine (or others like me).

Yes more hard work, and plenty of it.  I once wrote a (spoof) manifesto Americans for Harder Work!

If some of us can make our creative work our “day job” as well, then that’s great.  More power to you!  For many of us, that’s easier said than done,

There is plenty which is not work.  Love, dreams, human conversations, friendships and relationships: these can involve work and “upkeep.”

Yet these things are not work.  These transcend it and are above and beyond it.  Work and play can be part of these, but to me real life is more than just hard work.

That said, it’s January 5 and I have an awful lot of work to do this year.  Onward!

workplay and playwork:


Two statements critiquing the whole idea of work, first Paul Lafargue:


then Bob Black:


3 Responses to “2011: Work, play-work and more work”

  1. Gary Freeman Says:

    The Paul Lafargue (Laugh/Argue?) tract is amazingly at the same time poignant, insightful, scholarly, over the top, contradictory, ignorant and for the most part true only to its own internal logic. It reads like a sophomoric rant written to pass some leisure time. Which, all in all, is regrettable, as it does present true horrors.

    But I must admit that it is in a similar vein of the tongue-in-cheek that I used to say, “Laziness is man’s greatest virtue; without it he never would have invented labor-saving devices, beginning with the wheel.”

  2. Jennifer Gariepy Says:

    There is a Latin proverb:

    Liber non est qui non aliquando nihil agit. [He is not free who can’t do nothing once in a while]

    An Italian phrase speaks of dolce far niente [the sweetness of doing nothing]

    Best of all is something my dad overheard the boss say to a new supervisor: “Dave [my dad] may look like he’s doing nothing, but he’s really writing. Writers sit around and stare a lot.”

  3. Ten Nebula Says:

    Peace and Light,

    I enjoy your arts blog.
    I hope all is unfolding in your life in ease,joy, harmony, and abundance!
    Have a great 2011!!!

    Bright Blessings,

    Ten Nebula

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