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Jessica Sieff: Let me tell you something right now…

Published 11:41pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Maybe it’s just the natural progression of things, maybe it’s the characteristic of the fall, the time of year when school starts and it feels like everything is divided into three categories: work, homework and play.

Either way, over the last few weeks the days have been filled with a combination of attending to the standard, everyday joys of the job and handling an influx of work and thought for a new project, which equates to quite the demanding workload.

Add to that the demands that await when the dishes pile up and clean clothes get scarce and bill due dates near and it’s safe to say at the dining table of my life I’m looking at a pretty full plate.

But in the thick of it — I don’t mind a bit.

One of my favorite quotes ever is by writer Joan Didion. I wasn’t introduced to her work until I heard buzz about her memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking,” one of the most insightful, poignant and beautiful books I’ve ever read.

That’s another column entirely but suffice it to say it’s on my Top 5 list for sure.

Didion wrote the book after the sudden death of her husband and it is a journey through her wandering mind in the following months of grief.

I stumbled on this quote of hers, made long before “The Year of Magical Thinking” brought Didion newfound notoriety with a new generation and it has stuck in mind ever since.

“Working did for the trouble, what gin did for the pain.”

I love every bit of that phrase. I love the way it rolls off the tongue. Maybe it’s because I’m a gin drinker myself.

Maybe it’s just because I relate.

Those words have been running through my mental marquee for the last few weeks especially.

I like the catharsis of work — should you actually be lucky enough to enjoy what you do. I don’t mind a never-ending to-do list, an incredibly demanding timeline when it means filling my brain with things to do.

Around me lately, outside of my office, is too much trouble. Too many in my circle have too many problems. I am nothing if not surrounded. And at times it can be a little much…like jogging through a tar pit.

It’s been a long time since I have allowed work to be my salvation but the fact is, I’d rather be working most of the time. And lately, through it all I find my mind is firing on all cylinders. I’m craving new ideas and new words. I’m attacking an evening of laundry, outlining, dishes and home organizing like one of those big guys attacks the quarterback in a football game.

I want to cover my walls in dry erase boards so I can map out my thought process while baking with autumn inspired spices and turning my home into a Martha Stewart creation of sorts.

I won’t.

But I want to. And that’s the point. Wanting is doing. If you no longer find yourself in want of anything, you’re not living hard enough.

And for those who may find themselves stuck in the trouble all I can say is — you gotta work your way out. It’ll feel so much better when you do.

Jessica Sieff is a reporter for the Niles Daily Star. Reach her at jes sica.sieff@leaderpub.com.

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