On the Merits of Hard Work

by cunningstuff

Something I rarely saw on the tools we used, new paint.


I grew up working at really hard labor, slinging a sledge hammer in texas heat and humidity. Working like that, with 95% humidity and 38C sun and no wind, you get humble with yourself real quick, and things like survival and getting the job done become your priorities. You also realize what it may take to get a job done, and what tools you possess as a human. Splinters get ignored, stings, sweat, and water all come together, you sometimes wonder if you have had enough salt in your body to survive the day. I am not gonna say I was cut out for this type of work, as a matter of fact, I didn’t do it again after I left my family and home. I had no compunctions about doing any other work after it though. I have done all sorts of hard labor, shoveling snow, roofing, lifting and moving, factory work, welding, machine work, basically, jack of all trades. I had the privilege of growing up in full fledged shop, where we could work wood, steel, and plastics. I have hands on knowledge of silkscreen, graphic arts, small machines, automobiles and HVAC. I am not formally trained, because in my family, you just took it apart, did the measurements, replaced the broken parts, and put things back together. Our main trade was residential construction, and there is no phase of building any size house that I have not witnessed and participated in.

All of that background has taught me one thing definitively, hard work will excise it’s own rewards. I can understand the trials of others, because I have had trials myself. Heat exhaustion is no laughing matter, and when there is no relief but the truck you rode to work in, it is also a matter of life and death. You can empathize with others about the situations they find themselves in, because you have had the need of empathy yourself. You do not attempt to walk in other’s shoes, but if you place yourself in them, you can see what they might have to deal with. I am not trying to play my own broadway tunes here, I am just saying, there is something to be said for those of us who have worked with their minds and body. Now I am trying something new to me, trying to understand what it may take for me to become a writer, and for the first time in ages, decades even, I am understanding one thing, writing is hard work, and the merits of working hard will eventually pay off.

Stifled by hard work though, is my imagination. I have taken almost a month to begin to comprehend what it is to be a writer, and if the jacket fits. I do like the cut, and the striking image it returns, but does it fit? I will probably ask that question until I die, or maybe there just comes a day, when after a few years of making some sort of success of this, I go, ok, yeah I am writer, and hunker down forever more as a typist of my own thoughts. My imagination though, is having a really hard time accepting the new conditions I have set. I need it to work not only for me as a writer, using the fire of creation to forge new thoughts and ideas, I also need it to support me, to hold me up and give me nice things when I am doubting myself. Hard work requires no such devices, hard work is its own reward, and hard work at writing can actually put the imagination into a dead sea, where it finds no shores to excite it and no compass to give it direction, so now that the verbal vomitous is almost over, I am confronted with that part of writing that requires imagination.

I may be wrong, but I think that the solution lies in an obvious message from my past, to take it head on, and force the things to happen that I need. I can imagine what it was like, those days of sweat and aching muscles, so I should use those things to help my imagination get its muscle mass built up. I know I can take anything apart and put it back together, usually in working order, so now it is time for me to take apart my imagination and find out what was broken. 12 years of dull repetitious work, stuck in a retail hell of politics, backstabbing and asskissing have left my mind in a dull gray haze, and the excitement of writing is basically me looking out of a deep rolling fog. I know I can see the shore, but the mast has broken and the current is always pulling me farther away from shore. In order to counter this, I am going to be experimenting, trying some new categories, and playing with form and function in my writing a good bit. I expect I should keep it from this side of my writing, this side, this blog, has an undefined but specific purpose of musing about myself, the world, and my writing in little 1000 word chunks, to keep me motivated and pushing on the popular front so that I have an image for people to see. I want it to stay healthy and kinda stupid, something I can toss out, then move on from. It was hard work getting started on it, but now I find it easy to write here, I just have to stop, think about what I am thinking, then write it in a way that appeals only to me. Simple, and far to easy for the work I have ahead of me, but none the less, a good exercise. Next is the hard work, the work that should justify my abilities, by creating and meeting different challenges I create, until I am satisfied my imagination has the muscle I think I am going to need to be a real writer in the real world.