All Play and No Work


I grew up in a typical blue collar family.  We were so blue collar that a family photo could be easily mistaken for one of Picasso’s blue period paintings. 

In that context work had a simple definition.  It meant some sort of nose- to- the- grindstone trade, factory/shipyard work or some sort of soldiering on that involved grease, dirt, paint or at best the tools of the carpenter or electrician. Hammers, shovels, wrenches maybe even a modern device like a voltmeter, or an arc welder were permissible  . These common tools of the trade ensure an honourable pride that shines consistent and true over the course of an entire life.  In the end one could rest in peace for a days work well done or a lifetime of toil that awarded a clear conscience.

Enter the Idealist, Artist and Dreamer!  That was me.  It still is.  

I’m old enough to realize now that there’s no point in a blame session.  Why, for example, wasn’t the Arts promoted in our home?  Why did I spend many years focused only on those things that were “blue collar” in some attempt to balance the foolish imaginings of youth and the daydreams of art and illusion?  

A Pastor once said  , “Things are as they are…”.  A Waitress in a pub would often say, ” It is what it is!”. From both ends of the spectrum, as it were, came the same sage-like wisdom:  Some things you cannot change.  It is what it is so work with it!  

We cannot change what has been done.  Especially those things we had no choice over in the first place.  Did you choose your parents?  Did you have persuasion over their choice of career?  Did you choose the town you were born in?  In an age of supposed free will and autonomous power we are struck dumb by the truth of how little we actually can control certain things in life. Isn’t it funny how stressed we are!  Why be anxious for things we cannot change?  Instead, change the things we can.

I am no prophet and far from it.  My thoughts are that the best way looking back is to take whatever good we can and use it to help us move on.  I love my parents and almost lost them once .  They taught me good things and provided for my needs and more so.  Most of all they loved me.  I thought loving them was having to be exactly like them vocationally.  It’s not true I think. They gave me faith, love and hope.  They taught my brother and I to do an honest days work and do everything to the very best of our ability.

Art and design is work.  A kind of work that is just as hard as trying to get one pipe to weld to another.  I think we should aim to do what work is most amenable to our selves and our nature.  I do not regret the years of blood, sweat and toil that helped hone my character and provide for mine.  Life isn’t always what one thinks it is or will be.  The important thing is if you’re an artist is to dedicate as much time as you can creating and producing your art.  Blame Sessions about past mistakes only prolong those mistakes; brings them into Now when they should have been left in Yesterday.  

There I go again musing and philosophizing…

Enter the IdealistArtist and Dreamer!  That was me.  It still is.

Thanks for visiting!


4 comments on “All Play and No Work

  1. Kevin I have just read your article and it has touched my heart and my soul and my spirit. I can relate to what you said but not quite so eloquently as you have put it. So many times in our lives we have our “druthers” and all one can truly do is the best with what they have been given. It’s always easier to wish for what others have, rather than to settle for what we’ve been given. If God were to stand before me now and tell me I could re-live my life any other way, I would opt for exactly what I have at this moment…the good and the bad. I have been blessed all my life and didn’t always know it, or appreciate it, but I know now, I have had, and got the very best of everything. I have never wanted anything more than good health and happiness for my family. The wealth of it all is obvious to the eye…they riches..anything beyond what I have now would be perfection. Thank you for showing me through your beautiful composition of words….

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