Privilege Blog

Thank You For Your Work, Or, Saturday Morning at 11:09am

On my way to Seattle last weekend I stopped at the American Express lounge in the San Francisco airport. The place almost justifies that Platinum card fee – the food includes stuff like fresh farro and mint salad, Filipino pulled pork, free Prosecco – you get my drift.

On this visit, on beyond and better yet than the buffet, a reader recognized me and asked, “Do you write a blog?”

We talked only briefly, she had just finished a big event, and also I suspect wanted to be considerate of my time. But before we went to our separate tables she said something to me that I’ve been thinking about ever since.

“Thank you for your work.”


While I acknowledge that I work at this blog thing, and even that it fit the criteria for a job when I monetized, I had never thought of the posts here as “my work.” Work as a process, as labor, yes, but that it could collectively be seen as a creation hadn’t occurred to me. (I promise, I’m not looking for praise, you all are very supportive, I want for little.)

It’s just that blogs are so of the moment. They are built that way – you post into time, again and again. And because this particular blog has had several incarnations – from Hello World to High WASP deconstruction to Style and back to Hello World – the posts may lack the kind of theme I expect of a body of work. In any case, I have not made and may not ever make the leap to considering my blog posts an actual body of work. They feel like a journal. All well and good.

Do I have a body of work then? (And I ask you the same question. Do you feel you have “a body of work?” I don’t find myself so interesting that I self-scrutinize in public unless I hope the thoughts are useful.)

I am clear that I have worked hard, as my father once said in comforting me, “at any number of things.” I’m clear that I’ve had jobs – hey, it’s hard to ignore a group of people who expect you to show up and often expect you to point out which way to go.

My children were work, but they are not remotely my “work.” My garden is work, but the bones were laid by others, so it’s not really mine. Maybe I am writing this novel because it would in fact become my “work?” Perhaps we need a definition. I sure do.

A body of work has to endure, either concretely or in the imagination, as the creation of an identifiable hand or hands.

There is one possibility that fits this definition for me, and that’s the ways of the community here. Which might seem odd, but that’s what comes to mind. I envisioned and worked on the mores, if you will, the culture. I meant to foster some kind of openness to criticism, along with much civility as humanly possible.

However, my intention required your willingness. So maybe the culture of the comments is our body of work. See our hands. Small. But worthy. To endure, with any luck, as how we navigate all the other more important aspects of life. I know it endures for me and I thank you.

And since that culture also includes not taking ourselves too seriously, OK, fine, yes, I loved Markle’s outfit but I did not get up at 1am to watch the wedding. Hoping to find a replay, as I hear the homily and the choir were brilliant and I bet that veil is even better in the breeze.

Have a wonderful weekend, o my colleagues and my buddies.

37 Responses

  1. I was asked recently (by my hair stylist, we sometimes go deep as he cuts and studies and cuts) if, as I get older, I find myself thinking about my legacy. My legacy??? My reaction betrayed my lack of focus on the topic. Like all parents, I have worked to impart some sort of useful “wisdom” to my children. I have worked hard on my long marriage and other relationships. Additionally, I have worked hard at–as your dad said–“any number of things.” I have lifelong interests/passions/hobbies–but I certainly didn’t invent them. I’ve tried to apply my best and purest energies to everything my life has presented. But I can’t say I have devoted a lot of thought to a specific and singular body of work. A cherished friend once responded, when asked about plans for a long term project, “I don’t have plans, I just have evolving ideas.” I guess I apply that view in the backward gaze, too. Lisa, thanks for this space and your own work in building it.

    1. @Linda, You are more than welcome. And evolving ideas is how I think of the blog, too, so it’s interesting to hear your friend articulate a similar thought.

      I also thought that men in high places do often talk about their legacy – so even people with lots of power seem to want to feel that they have a “body of work.”

  2. Software Engineer here, no problem with a body of work. It’s out there in files, lines and lines of it. Sometimes when I’m called back into something I haven’t look at in awhile I am amazed at myself, asking “did I really do that?” Usually it’s in a good way, if the code was awful I’m more prone to remember it, “opps not my finest effort.”

    I liked Markels’ gown very much as well. Although that was the thing I went out of my way to see, while I was watching a replay waiting for her I noticed Harry’s attire. His suit was something else. I sure every little braid detail, I don’t think it’s called lace on men- pleat, and ruffle- whatever the things that flopped on his chest- means something. She may have been the Fairytale, but he was the Empire.

    1. @RoseAG, Yes – of course! Software engineers really do have a body of work. And they even provide their own commentary when they comment on their code inline.

      And Britain was Empiring big. But Harry is so endearing, to me, and we have so many images of him as a little boy, that I find his persona overpowers all the Empire paraphernalia.

  3. It IS your work and you should be very proud-we may be here as a greek chorus, the only difference -we are as many individual voices,not a collective one
    And sometimes you have to meet a nice woman to realize it
    (The gown was perfect-and the other one too. Luckily ,I didn’t have to wake up for the wedding!)

    1. @dottoressa, That is a good point, it is so many individual voices, and in the meeting we learn more about the whole.

      I swear I feel this is as much your doing as mine.

  4. Yes, Lisa the blog is work. I say this because it requires you to lay down your thoughts in a disciplined manner. It has a deadline of Saturday much like a weekly newspaper. You are required to articulate yourself in a manner that encourages others to think and listen.
    The fact that you enjoy writing it does not mitigate the above.

    Yes, I love the clips of the royal wedding. I wish I had the enthusiasm to make scones.


    1. @luci, It does take discipline. But can we say the set of posts are coherent? A body of work? I don’t know. Do you have a body of work?

  5. We don’t get to take credit for what is your work – and work it is. Just think of us as your first readers, who give you occasional feedback on what you’ve written.
    I turned on the TV when I woke up so saw them exchanging rings and heard the wonderful cellist as they were off signing the registry. Also heard the lovely music of the British choir – but really, just boys and men in this day and age? They could do better. Caught snatches later of the gospel choir and was glad they were there as a counterweight. I think more than a few Brits were shocked by the gospel music and the preacher. Loved the dress and veil – modest and beautiful, with just a little edge. I’m only a little ashamed, or maybe abashed is a better word, that I take an interest in all of this; I like to think that it’s the romantic in me, but maybe it’s just the little girl who dreamed about marrying a prince.

    1. @MJ, I think you do way more than that. This is a feedback loop. I was only trying to talk like my older family members – you all told me it was about civility and consideration.

      I’m now watching the wedding on YouTube. Quite lovely, isn’t it. xoxo.

    2. @MJ, Lots of us thought, when we were little girls, that being married to a prince was some kind of fairy tale life. Princess Diana’s life and death showed us that this is sadly not true! I think very few of us would exchange our lives, with their triumphs and tragedies, for her life. But we can enjoy the fantasy (no harm in it!) for a few hours once every couple of decades.

  6. Why not call it “work” or “body of work”? I’m not sure it has to be grand or even completed. A few years ago, I took part in a fundraiser for my favorite camp (Camp Jack Hazard on the Highway 108 corridor, , where everybody rocks out! Had to put in a plug.) It was sort of a hike-a-thon, a 93 mile backpacking trip on the PCT, one mile for every year of its existence. I ended up bailing at 50 miles after losing a few toenails, but our fearless leader, the director of the foundation who runs the camp, gave us a thought assignment to keep our minds busy as we were punishing our bodies everyday. One day, it was “what are you good at that makes you special?” I chose “being everyone’s mother”, kind of as a joke. But when we discussed at the end of the day, one of the members of the party who knows me well said that they noticed that I am good at building community and making lots of different types of people feel comfortable and at ease. I’ve turned that over in my head so many times since, and have decided that really is my life’s work. It is not grand, will not make history, it will never be done, and I’m OK with that.

  7. Writing a blog is work. Developing a topic that engages and interests others is a real accomplishment. I, thank you. In my opinion, some blogs are drivel and double-talk, a stage to preach and/or promote the author.

  8. Thinking seriously about important issues (and these can be everyday issues, as well as high-falutin’ ones) and then putting these thoughts down in a disciplined, but enjoyable fashion is downright hard work.
    I admire you for it, and I turn to your blog with anticipation and appreciation.

    On to more frivolous matters: Loved the music – gospel, Baroque, traditional Anglican- all of it- during the Meghan-Harry nuptuals. Admired her flowing gown and sang-froid during the ceremony. Don’t get the attendees’ Sputnik hats or Marquis de Sade shoes, though (*ducks brickbats from lovers of fascinator hats and high heels** – better run!)

  9. I suppose I see a blog post as “a piece,” akin to art, in many cases identifiable by the signature of its maker, a “representation of artistic caprice,” in this case writing, sometimes accompanied by photography. Bloggers have unique timbres. I love that about blogging. And it’s a process of passion hopefully!, usually?, lit by the desire to express an idea/image which translates into visible output. Those are my initial thoughts. Great topic.

    1. @Melanie, Thanks – I do see your blog posts as “works.” Performance art captured, if you will. And I love the term “unique timbre.” So much more specific than “voice.”

  10. I echo the same sentiment as your reader at the airport. “Thank you for your work”. Your blog holds the same value to me as your finished book, or a published article on an important periodical… We value hard work, and if something is not labor intensive, heroic or complex, we downgrade its usefulness. I find a lot of value and benefits from reading my favorite blogs. Also learn a lot from the blog post and comments. The royal wedding was just as awesome watching it on rerun. A beautiful wedding! Amelia

    1. @Amelia, It was a beautiful wedding! And yes, I think that’s a point I should consider more carefully. I do tend to overvalue the heroic. Thank you.

  11. After completing chores yesterday, I stumbled upon the Royal Wedding on our local PBS channel. Loved all the hats that women chose to wear to such an affair, and Ms. Markle was lovely, I particularly liked the head band that held her incredible veil in place. Plus I saw lilacs in bloom as the couple was being driven through town from the church, and was reminded by the commentator that folks had been out all day before sprucing up their front gardens for the royal procession through town.

    1. @Holly Rose, What I lovely thought! That the people in the town spruced it up:). The weather was GORGEOUS, almost like it had been ordered up:). That head band is in fact a tiara, right? Although it definitely looked more like a head band!

  12. Oh my, I simply love this post, and your body of work as reflected in this blog. I have little to say. I found lost things this weekend, didn’t watch “the” wedding but listened to the sermon, and am going for a bike ride this morning, this first actually predetermined ride, with friends, in a couple of decades. And I still, I thank you for this post. I think our work, and our “body of work”, is sometimes greater than we even imagine, you captured that perfectly in the paragraph about the culture of comments.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. @Mardel, Thank you. Our “body of work” is if we are lucky, larger than our imaginations – because we may live on in how we have interacted with others, whose imaginations really do the final creation. I hope you had a wonderful bike ride.

  13. I’ve always thought of your blog as your body of work and work it is. I think I’m extremely sensitive about it, because people no longer think I “work” because I’m a painter. Recently, I had a long, difficult day of painting and said something about being tired and drained from day of painting and she asked in a sarcastic tone “You consider painting hard work?”. It really stung.

    And I too, thank you for your work.

    1. @KSL, That person sounds either horrid or suffering so that she couldn’t hear the sound of her voice in another’s ears. I absolutely get that a day of painting could be long and difficult – mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

  14. Lisa,
    As you know, my blog morphed from fashion into poetry several years ago.
    As a writer, a word of thanks, acknowledgement, praise is a rare and wonderful moment. Enjoy, you deserve it!

    1. Thank you. Writing is solitary – and once published online, pieces tend to disappear from mind. Where would we be without encouragement!

  15. Lisa, Perhaps, I do not have a “body of work”. Rather,
    I would say I have accomplishments. I think your blog is a wonderful accomplishment.
    To KSL the artist, I would say some people will never understand what is important. I am learning to reduce the noise of those people.
    Our are children “a body of work”?


  16. I love this post, especially for selfish reasons (I’ve been mulling the value of my blog recently vis-à-vis the hours and hours —work!!—I put into it; considering whether it’s “worth” continuing to do so). I similarly had a reader introduce herself to me, thoughtfully and non-intrusively, when I was riding the ferry a year or so ago. She never commented, she said, but wanted to thank me for the work I did, work that created something she enjoyed. It meant so much to me at the time, and you reminded me of the moment which—as you do so well—you’ve illuminated and articulated for me. Not that I equate our blogs but I think we “work” in the same field. You definitely deserved that reader’s thanks, and mine, for the work you do here. xo

  17. Indeed writing is work . I find the blogs I stick with are the well written ones even when the ostensible subject is clothes , cooking , art . So I also thank you for your work .
    KSL I’m another artist and know what you mean altho’ I haven’t had such nastiness as you have , more well-meaning idiocy . My favourite example is someone who said “it must be so relaxing” !

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