Rest as resistance
and as a work in progress
Happy Labor Day! I’m spending a lot of this weekend finishing up both grant work and illustrations so that I can really take a rest during our upcoming vacation. I present to you a work-in-progress for this newsletter’s illustration (as in, it’s not finished yet, so no judgments please). Book dummies are often accompanied by a couple of fully illustrated spreads as samples of the final product. That’s what I’ve been developing as I get closer to the October SCBWI conference. However, I’m definitely feeling a bit of burnout right now, so this vacation couldn’t come at a better time. Normally, I’d push and push through, but the vacation is forcing me to rest right before it. I didn’t intend it to happen that way, but I am grateful for the break.
My relationship to rest and play is definitely a work in progress, too. Here are some things that I’ve been exploring recently along that theme:
Permission to Come Home: Reclaiming Mental Health as Asian Americans by Jenny Wang is helping me to better understand my relationship to rest and play right now. I’ve definitely inherited the notion that that one must earn the privelege to rest and play, and you do that by finishing your work first — which means I never rest and rarely play. Not healthy.
Our U.S. cultural preference for work is awfully helpful for extractive capitalism. I’m looking forward to reading Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey when it comes out in October to explore these ideas further. In the meantime, enjoy Hersey’s blog. My favorite line from her blog is: “How will you be useless to capitalism today?”
And what happens if you cannot engage in paid employment because of health or other issues? We tie so much of our identity to work and earning; what happens when that is stripped away from us? Who are we then in society’s eyes? Such questions have me reading about disability justice by starting with reading Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. There’s a lot for me to learn in this space, which I see as a good complement to my life-long interest in how the work of caring (often considered women’s work) is treated in economic policy.
Speaking of economic policy, I’m also reading Administrative Burden: Policymaking By Other Means by Pamela Herd and Daniel Moynihan as part of some research I am doing for a client. It doesn’t sound related to the rest of this post, but it most certainly is. The amount of work we make people do to receive benefits or assistance they need has reprecussions for our collective relationship to government, our support or disapproval of such programs, and our politics. The policy wonk in me is quite engaged in this book.
That’s enough for now. Wishing you a restful Labor Day!