05 March 2010

All work and no play?

I've been pondering what makes something pleasant or fun and where is the line where it crosses over to pure work. I have dabbled with some hobbies and plunged myself deeply into others.

Right now for instance I'm in the process of reupholstering a couch. I'm not doing this out of any creative instinct. I inherited (borrowed? stole?) it from the basement of my parents house.I'm only going to be here a year or so but the furniture in question looked a bit like raccoons had lived on it and it needed a refreshing. So I'm pushing myself to get it done sooner rather than later. You know what? It's not fun and I'm not that good at reupholstering. I have a sore back and I just want a clean couch.

Gardening falls into that same category. On a nice day, I think I'll go pull weeds or plant flowers or something. After about an hour and only half way or less through the project, I'm really not having fun. It's like the idea of these things is fun and drives me to do them but in the end it's just...well, work.

I've been debating the same issue in regard to writing. I always have wanted to tell stories. The idea of stories come to my mind and I want to develop them. Totally different from gardening, it is very, very hard to sit down to start the writing. Something akin to being trapped in a traffic jam - you go out of your way to avoid it. But when I do write a story, sometimes once you get going a magical moment occurs where you are inside the story like you are watching a movie that moment is great fun. You lose track of time and live the story for a few moments. The bad news is no story is ever complete with one magical pass at putting words on paper. The next step is killing your darlings -- editing, editing, and editing some more. This is like having my fingernails removed without anesthetic. So I wonder, why do I keep doing it?I seem driven or obsessed.

Is it work or play? Yes.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say that being driven and being obsessed are sometimes the same thing. Not always, though.

    I've been thinking about that some too. I keep telling myself that I need to try to shift into a role that is something that I would want to do for fun, but if I do anything 40+ hours a week or more it is work rather than fun. I do enjoy completing crazy projects, though.

    I like your observation about liking the idea of doing something more than actually doing that thing. If I am not careful I'll jump into a bunch of projects thinking they sound fun before realizing that they just feel like work. That's how I got into student government in college, and it is also why I was no good at it. :)