Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Worthless Work

Ginny returned to her office Thursday—she only lasted there till noon then fell ill again and had to return home. I’ve nursed her, after my clumsy fashion, since then. She finally decided that if she is not better by Monday, she’ll consent to seeing her doctor.


We Cowarts tough it out.

Thursday also, Jennifer, Patricia, Rex, and Terry visited me. I took the girls to brunch at Dave’s Diner and we got back home just as Ginny, Rex, and then Terry arrived.

The group crowded in our living room discussing air conditioner repair, wedding plans for Patricia, ministry, family stuff, and the meaning of work.

The question of whether or not my writing constitutes work or goofing off with a hobby arose.

In our Southern tradition, unless a man has a shovel in his hand, what he’s doing is not work; work pays money and a real man supports his family by the sweat of his brow.

Since my writing generates so little cash income and is subsidize by Ginny’s income and our children’s contributions, I do not qualify as a working man.

I feel like crap.

The workman is worthy of his hire. And since our society defines success in terms of cash income, I feel I am not a workman and therefore not worthy.

No hire given means no work done.

Producing 22 books and seeing several foreign translations come out over the past 35 years should leave me with some sense of accomplishment. But I feel I’ve labored under false colors, that my stuff is just typing words on air.

Lots of readers and editors seem to like my writing—so long as they get it free. Hardly anyone feels it’s worth paying for.

Career-wise, I’d have done better if I’d spent the last 35 years collecting stamps, playing golf, flying kites, going fishing. These activities would cost a whole lot less than writing and publishing my books; and these activities would have produced just as much income to support my family.

I’ve spent my life pissing against the wind.

I also feel guilty that so much of what I’ve done recently is clerical stuff, self promotion and rehashing stuff I wrote years ago.

Just feeling weary today.

Like most days.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 8:39 AM


At 4:51 PM, Blogger Van said...

I have often had the same thoughts you expressed on this post, but then am reminded - my chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He can take my love of writing away any time and I would be happy to do other "work."

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered book packaging? From what I understand, one can make good money doing that sort of work.


At 8:54 PM, Blogger agoodlistener said...

That whoosh you just heard was the point Anonymous missed.

Of course writing is work, but it's rarely recognized as such by those who can't do it. I think most people who like to write do it as part of their job, or on the side, but it is very difficult to make any money solely by composing deathless prose--unless of course you are Stephen King. Thankfully, you are not and we are glad of that.


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