Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day

Mom and me a few weeks before.

My mom and I labored on Labor Day—I was born the next morning. (Apparently they named a holiday after us!) It's interesting to think of us working together on such a momentous project before we'd even seen each other face-to-face.

Mom and me a few weeks after. October, 1949.

Mom loved to labor; every Labor Day she had some big undertaking planned for all of us to do together—weed the yard, "put up" peaches, houseclean the entire world—well, that's what it seemed like to me. Our roles were the same as that first Labor Day: she did all the pushing and panting, while I just struggled to get out of it. But I learned to love work (except for weeding, canning and housecleaning.)

Saturday we went to see Julie and Julia for my birthday. While it's ultimately the story of how they both became rich and famous, what we see is their joy in the journey. I identified with both characters. They were obsessed. Heber J. Grant said, “If you have ambitions, dream of what you wish to accomplish and then put your shoulder to the wheel and work."

What are your ambitions? If you're going to be a writer, then writing is what you have to do, and writing is hard work. Someone said, "The easier it is to read, the harder it was to write." Sometimes I sit at this computer and type so long that I can't stand up without pains shooting through my back. My fingers cramp and my right shoulder throbs from sliding the mouse around it's pad. I have to close my eyes because my vision is blurred. Once I'm on a roll I don't dare quit. I don't want to miss my muse. (I know I told you we'd talk about our muse this week, but it's now been pushed to next week. Julie and Julia inspired me.)

I've fallen asleep at the keyboard often. Even more often I've rushed to the computer in the early a.m. to see what I wrote (and published!) after my mind shut off, but before I stopped typing. By morning my fingers are flexible, my back is bendable, I can see and think again, and I start editing my work before I even brush my teeth. Eventually I remember breakfast, and tear myself away for real life. I really, really want to be a brilliant writer, and I've postponed it long enough. Heck, I'm sixty years old!

My motherhood years were like an internship for this new phase of life. They taught me to multi-task, grab five minutes here and fifteen minutes there, organize, understand myself, develop and test theories and truths. They gave me experience and wisdom, so now I have something to say. It feels sensational to work hard on something different, and have new aspirations. OK: obsessions.

The Sower by Carl Larsson

I'm not laboring to become rich or famous (although, like Julie and Julia, I'd jump for joy if I did.) My real ambition is to be a sower. Seeds to motivate, encourage, support and uplift others are all in my bag. Now I'm learning to throw. It's more work than I ever expected, but then, I started out on Labor Day.

Since I'm writing this on my birthday, and you're reading it on a holiday, I'm going to keep the homework assignments short. Expand, simplify, or be inspired.

~Write a paragraph about a job you would do for free. Prompt: "If money were no object, I'd like to be a ______, and work in_______."

~Write a paragraph about your philosophy of work. Thought questions: Is work worthwhile for it's own sake, or does it have to have a monetary value? How are you teaching your kids to work? Did your parents make work fun or was it something to get finished before you could have fun?

Now, write away!

42 comments:

brandy said...

Happy Birthday Oma!

I just joined your writing class, I'll have my links up soon.

But I just wanted to wish you a
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are an inspiration to many!

gab said...

Don't labor too hard this weekend. Enjoy your birthday fun!!!

Kiasa said...

Happy Birthday!

My bit is on my blog. It needs some work, but I'll mull it over and make some changes later.

kenju said...

I didn't know it was your birthday, Marty. Hope it was happy!!

I think work is its own reward - at least it is when you work with flowers like I do.

~Kristina said...

Take time to reflect on your labour today. Be wonderful. Live happy.

http://tinastree.blogspot.com/2009/09/write-away-labour-day.html

Lauralee said...

Happy Birthday! I joined your class..thanks for doing this.. how fun. I will look forward to it!
www.onesweethappylife.blogspot.com

Heather @ Alis Grave Nil said...

Link to assignment 6

Amanda said...

happy labor day everyone!
http://edgeonlife.blogspot.com/2009/09/second-assignment-creative-writing.html

Marissa Marie said...

Happy Birthday! I need to see that movie, I've heard so many good things about it!

http://happyhyperbole.blogspot.com/2009/09/work.html

crissy said...

Happy Birthday, Oma!
You will find my completed assignment here.

La Yen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Yen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Yen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Yen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Yen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La Yen said...

Happy Birthday! Thanks for doing this. And here is my assignment

Also, sorry about the multiple comments! Internet hates me today...

cannwin said...

"If money were no object, I'd like to be a ______, and work in_______."

--a mom and work in my house.

.... Oh, wait I already do that. Hah!

I'd love to be a published writer, and though I would like to make some money at it I think it would be nice to just have a book of mine out there that people loved.

diane said...

Happy Birthday teacher!

I have scars from Labor day. One from when I was ten cleaning the basement and another from a c-section 23 years ago. Labor day weekend is so appropriate for birthdays.

Have a great one. Stretch it into a month long celebration.

{jordan} said...

Happy Birthday!

For this assignment I kinda took a different route, but I hope it still qualifies! Link is supposed to be here.

And since I have terrible luck with technology, if the link doesn't work, here's the old fashioned cut and paste code:

http://meanmommyacademy.blogspot.com/2009/09/day-of-rest.html

I think I want to write like you when I grow up . . .

Diane L said...

You are my hard working hero. Happy Birthday!

assignment 6

middleofthetable said...

happy birthday!!!

this assignment isn't very good today.

i'm unspired & sad tonight. im not ready to go back to work yet. i have more relaxing to do.

smeagher said...

This was so much fun!! Thanks again.

Happy Birthday!!

Sara's post: here

brooke said...

Happy Happy birthday! You are one in a million. I love Gab's tribute to you today!

Mrs. Organic said...

What a fortuitous birthday. I love volunteering to advocate for special needs children and one day hope to do it full time. In the meantime...

Meg said...

I didn't quite follow the exact assignment, but it did inspire this:
http://so-ingbuttons.blogspot.com/2009/09/sowork.html
Oh, and Happy Birthday!

Miranda said...

Happy Birthday!

After growing up on a farm I miss doing the kind of "work" we do there. I feel like I have to make up "farm work" living in the city!

Thanks for this assignment...my notebook is looking more and more lovely as its pages fill.

dalene said...

happy birthday--hope it was a great day!

here's a link to today's assignment (it's kind of a two-fer).

Loralee and the gang... said...

How do I join your writing class? I'm sure it's simple and obvious, but I'm not gettin' it...
(And, Happy Birthday!)
:~D

CAT said...

Happy birthday Oma, I hope it wasn't too laborious! Here is my assignment. Thanks!

http://lucyloutoo.blogspot.com/2009/09/dream-job.html

audrey said...

I just love reading what you write! I am always inspired by your thoughts. Thank you.

Here is my assignment.

KJ said...

http://sassypiggy.blogspot.com/2009/09/writing-assignment-labor-day.html

also, secretly, a dream job: writing. ghost writing, editing, children's books, essayist, columnist. writing. since I was a child I'd dreamt of it yet doubted it.

happy birthday

Allison said...

Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Here's my post.

Queen Scarlett said...

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! Zhu Ni Shen Re Kuai Le!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I'll post a link soon... but wanted to wish you a lovely day first.

Queen Scarlett said...

DONE!!!

sue-donym said...

My assignment it finished.


http://suedonym1.blogspot.com/2009/09/up-and-at-em.html

Tiffany said...

I'm late, but I just posted my assignment on my blog. Thanks for another great session!

~j. said...

belated.

lisa said...

Happy Birthday (late)! Just the day after my mom's! My assignment is posted! (Thanks for doing this!)

Greek Goddess said...

Here is my link.

Happy belated Birthday, fellow September birthday!(It's my birthday today, the 9th!). Hope you had a great day.

Beck said...

Another offering, late again. I promise I'm trying to catch up! Would a bribe help my grade at all?

Katie H said...

Just posted hw #2!

http://jarednkatie.blogspot.com/2009/10/homework-assignment-2.html

Katie H said...

Thanks for your kind words! I am finding myself inspired & delighted by your posts.

I'm also so sorry about your husband's heart attack! I know how scary that can be from the male figures in my life! (Cancer too. Boo.) I take it he's better now, though, right?