Monday, January 25, 2016

Hard Work


I have worked hard all my life.

I don’t think it is a stretch to start at the beginning. Being abandoned and then raised in an institution for a while and then moving to live with an adoptive family must have put demands on me that most of the kids with whom I was raised didn’t face.

I was a keen student. I loved homework because it was something constructive to do and without siblings or any family life, there was lots of time to fill.

I even worked at play. I was organizing plays and parades at school and in my neighbourhood all my life — even at university. And I would buy scads of season tickets to a local theatre and then re-sell them, at no profit, to friends so that we could attend performances together and then go for drinks to talk about what we had seen.

I organized lectures too. When I read a book once, I was so impressed, I wrote to the author. And before you knew it, I had brought her to Vancouver and sold tickets to a speech she gave. I did that five times.

I organized tours, too. I took 52 people to Expo ’67 in Montreal from Vancouver — there and back in a train car I rented from the CPR. It was an incredible party. And I took 15 people to Florence for three weeks where I had rented a hotel wing, a huge art studio and a bus for us.

I founded things too. I loved starting things and it is hard work. I was mostly self-employed but sometimes I would become an employee of a client.

And then one day, “it” broke. I don’t know what “it” was, but it broke. I have thought of “it” as my work ethic, but that is not what broke. I still work very hard ethically. It was my will to work that broke — my will, my ambition.

So I retired. And then I focused on travel. I worked hard at travelling by going to India, twice, almost back-to-back; each time for three months. And then twice, again almost back-to-back, to Africa for extended trips.

Then came two books, two plays and the screenplay and then I “retired” again.

The first time, when my will to work broke, I retired from working for clients. The second time, I retired from working for myself. That is to say: I retired from travelling first and then from monetized long-form writing in June 2015. I just can't do "it" anymore. I don't have any ambition.

It ain't writer's block either. This writer is done. I have nothing to prove and nothing new to say worthy of the long form. I am writing a script that will likely never see the light of day. It's my first script undertaken with no ambition for monetization. My joy lies entirely in writing it and having no deadline. 

It’s been six months since my second retirement and all is very, very good. I believe my joy with life is due partly to this blog where my writing satisfies me in much the same way as a porn-lover’s masturbation does for him/her. Cooking is my other drug; it is a source of endless very short-term creative projects.

So the adage is not true. Money does bring you happiness; my life of full-time self-indulgence is underwritten by the benefits derived from all the aforementioned hard work (and some very good fortune).

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