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So much depends upon …

Bryant car
Jen Bryant writing lakeside in her SUV

… Labor! A brief tip of the hat to yesterday’s observance of Labor Day. Did you know that it was established as a federal holiday in 1894?? And that it was inspired by workers’ rights disputes in Canada? And that, after July 4th and Memorial Day, it is the third most popular grilling holiday in the U.S.? 

If you are a self-employed writer or artist you probably work on Labor Day—and on Memorial Day and on July 4th. Momentum is everything when you’re in the midst of a project, and you interrupt it at your own risk. Here are some of my favorite quotes from creators on the importance of work: 

William Carlos WIlliams
Poet William Carlos Williams writing by the river; illustration by Melissa Sweet for A River of Words

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas Edison 

“The days you work are the best days.”  —Georgia O’Keeffe 

“Nothing will work unless you do.”  —Maya Angelou 

“Man . . . grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.”  —John Steinbeck

“The hardest thing is not working.” —N.C. Wyeth

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” —Mary Oliver 

“All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.” —W.H. Auden 

Happy day after Labor Day. And now … back to work!

A River of Words
“So much depends upon labor,” an illustration by Melissa Sweet from A River of Words: the story of William Carlos WIlliams

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