Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And those wonderful people out there in the dark . . .

As I warned, you, there's nothing happening here.  But I was sitting, writing, and watching TV tonight (Sunset Boulevard,  to be specific) when it struck me that Joe Gillis never did fall in love with Betty Schaefer.  He just wanted to get back to work again.

There is a poetry to work, and I fear it has not found its Homer.

But, lemme think, Robert Heinlein was good at the joys of work, and so is Gene Wolfe.  Any others that you can name?



HANNAH'S DAD said...

You bet -

In programming (and doubtless other professions, conceivably including writing) the really good stuff gets done during that tiny proportion of the time when one is in a state of "flow".

In Maureen McHugh's _China Mountain Zhang_ there's a scene where the protagonist finally 'clicks' with some kind of VR architecture design program he's been struggling with for ages. I found the scene convincing and affecting.

More obliquely, I'm just rereading Vernor Vinge's _A Deepness in the Sky_, in which [...spoiler for those who care...] a nasty totalitarian society maintains its power by keeping most of its population in a state of medically induced obsessive compulsive disorder.

I think this reflects interestingly on how people's love of and pride in their work can be used as a handle with which to manipulate them.

Matthew Brandi said...

x is to work as Homer is to bloodshed, is that the idea?

Herman Melville?

David Stone said...

Isn't Hesiod the most obvious choice for Homer of manual labor? Then again every other line in the bit about working a field has phrases such as "Now make your slave do X..."

Ed said...

Donald Hall wrote a book called "Life Work." It was more about working as a writer but isn't that working?

Michael Swanwick said...

Studs Terkel wrote a book on working, called simply WORKING. Nonfiction, of course.

I guess writing is work. I live in a blue-collar neighborhood, and whenever a plumber or carpenter asks what I do for a living, I say "Remember English Comp? That's what I do." They're always impressed.

I gotta say, Melville is a pretty brilliant answer.

David Stone said...

I should also say that Maureen McHugh's novels are a good example; _Half the Day is Night_ has a couple of scenes involving underwater construction which were very well written.