Working. And that’s the truth.Writing.Researching.Revising. Writing some more. Thinking. Re-revising. Listening. Re-re-vising . . .
Such is the life of a writer—this writer. When friends, non-writer friends, call some mornings and ask, “What’re doin’?” I tell them, “I’m working!” It’s not hard to hear their skepticism.
So what, mine is not a 9 to 5 gig. So, I don’t commute. So, I set my hours (which means that there are many late nights that I’m still working). So, I don the wardrobe of my choosing (sweats are my preference), and determine the direction of my day. So, I can spend all day in my own head.
While I may be eating my mom's peanut brittle or her chocolate chip cookies (ahh!), almond butter sandwiches, avocados, rice crackers, apples, and sipping lattes (I find the best ways to procrastinate, don't I?), it doesn’t mean I’m not working, because, baby, I am. And I’m loving every minute of it and wondering why people don’t see what I do as working.
My work is different even, for me.
Both my parents worked. Government jobs. Punch a time clock. Overtime. Race-home-from-work-to-feed-the-family, clean-the-house, run-errands, live-and-love jobs. Mom worked in an office and Dad at the Oakland Army base carpool. Through them the war in Vietnam hit home—my mother worked above the Army recruitment office where young men lined up after their draft numbers were called and protesters blocked the entrance. At one point, my father drove a transport truck between Oakland Army base and Travis Air Force base where the remains of soldiers arrived in the US. He once told me that often he heard "things" jiggling in the sometimes weightless coffins as he loaded them onto his truck.
My parents brought their paychecks home before depositing. They stood in long bank lines and waited for tellers to divide their deposits between their checkbook registers and hand-sized savings books.
When I started working after college, I loved getting my paycheck, standing in line at the bank just as my parents had done. My checks were small—I earned $90 a week at my first job! I loved seeing the numbers in my accounts going up (yes, they went down, too—unh huh!). I loved the business of banking. The properness of it all. Feeling like a bona fide grown-up.
It’s been a long time since my days of reporting to managers, waiting for performance reviews, cold calls, commuting on BART, clockwatching (oh, wait! I still do that), and sales calls. Most people relate to work days spent in office buildings, salons, markets, on bridges, in gardens, department stores, boutiques, and bookstores. They get the kind of work where people sweat, get promoted, win a case, pave a road, save a life, issue a traffic ticket, calculate, pick up the recycling, make money or get angry with a coworker.
Or just enjoy every day. Isn’t that what I do? Isn't that what we all strive to do?
Duh, yeh. And after hours at my laptop, I can tell you, it’s work all the same.