Work Life

Labor Day 2014

Working the Garden
Working the Garden

LAKE MACBRIDE— Labor Day means a work day in Big Grove, and that’s fine with me.

Today began by finishing and filing two articles for the newspaper. After a session of garden work, and making juice from some apples I picked two days ago, I’ll work a shift at the orchard. Then, the CSA share will be ready for pickup, as they are working today as well. The new vegetables will need processing, so there will be a lot more to do before sleep comes again.

During my transportation career I made a point to go into the office on Labor Day. I felt that was my job, and a day to get caught up on work the exigencies of managing a multimillion dollar operation blocked out. Any more, it is a day to do work that in another life would just be called living.

This summer pushed the envelope of how much formal work can be crammed into a schedule. As many as eight paid jobs needed doing, and still they didn’t generate enough income to get past regular bills, a few emergency expenses, and paying down a small amount of debt. While it has been a struggle, worklife is also about framing.

I reject the class frame. Neither am I middle class nor working class, although if I were, the latter seems more appropriate. We’re not serfs either. Those frames belong to others. I look at myself as a writer in an Iowa City the City of Literature sort of way. Here’s what I mean.

What I do more now than ever is spend time writing. Everything else supports that work. A small bit of my income comes from writing, but alone, it is not sustainable. So I sign on to do specific part time or temporary work for pay. The few hours each morning at my desk it supports are what matters most.

Fame or notoriety will escape me most likely. The challenge these days is to find meaningful venues for my writing. For Labor Day, though, I just plan to work.