Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I Did on My Summer Vocation

Update: Thanks for the shout-out, Drifty!

Buster Keaton in his 1923 film Three Ages. Via thefyuzhe. I used this last February, but what the hell. Recycling and all I'm still working far harder than David Brooks.
So David Brooks really, really hates his job. Whatever political convictions used to animate him 20 or 25 years ago are long gone, though the Republican formulas haunt his language like the compulsive exclamations of the Tourette's sufferer, not that he has any new thoughts on the subject, he'd just rather not be thinking about it at all. What would he like to be thinking about? He has no idea, but he has a kind of emotion in the shape of an idea, which is a nostalgia for the time when it used to be fun. What did he have then that he doesn't have now?

Maybe, he tells himself, a vocation:

A vocation involves promises to some ideal, it reveals itself in a sense of enjoyment as you undertake its tasks and it can’t be easily quit when setbacks and humiliations occur. As others have noted, it involves a double negative — you can’t not do this thing.
Who are those "others"? Possibly David P. Setran and Chris A. Kiesling, authors of Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood: A Practical Theology for College and Young Adult Ministry, 2013. Or maybe Jeff Goins, "writer, ideas guy, and difference maker", author of four books including The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, 2015, who writes in his blog,
As one of my friends says, a vocation is something you “can’t not do.” (Pardon the double negative.) This is why real writers write.
You are compelled to do it, maybe even a little obsessed. For love of the craft, not the fame or money or accolades. Just writing for the sake of creating art.
If you’re going to be a writer, you have to love it
This is a non-negotiable. If not, you’ll burn out.  
Though Goins doesn't use the expression "double negative" in the introduction to The Art of Work.

Or could it be the "To Quit or Not to Quit: Readers Respond" forum that showed up some time in 2015 at Writing-World.com Equipping Writers for Success, where two of the contributors (Janis H and Richard S) used the "cannot not" adage?

Oh, but I'm totally mistaken! Today's column isn't about writers, it's about politicians!

For example, Hillary Clinton seems to have been first inspired by a desire to serve children, but over the decades walls of hard-shell combativeness formed. Mitt Romney seems to be an exceptionally fine person, but when he was campaigning his true nature was often hidden under a film of political formulas.
(Both sides do it, though Democrats get multiple shell-walls while Republicans get away with nothing but a film to go along with their exceptional fineness.)

Can't imagine what made me think Brooks was writing about himself. Now it looks like I'm going to have to start all over again.

No comments:

Post a Comment