Is there anything greater than a three-day weekend? (Unless, of course, you have a job that requires you to work on Saturdays or Sundays. Working while almost everyone else is off, which I’ve done a few times, is a bummer.)
But Labor Day, three-day weekend or not, has never been one of my favorite holidays. I grew up in Chicago, and at that time (and possibly still today, I just don’t know), the Chicago Public Schools reopened the Wednesday following Labor Day. So Labor Day meant the end of summer freedom and going back to the grind of school. Where I live now, in a suburb of Chicago, the kids go back to school the week before Labor Day. I’d feel sorry for them except nowadays they go back to air-conditioned schools (unheard of in Chicago schools, where we sweltered if the weather was hot in June or September), and they get out of school at the end of May (the Chicago school year lasted until the end of June).
I realized I really didn’t know much about Labor Day and its origins so I did a little Googling. The first Labor Day, before it was an official holiday, was a celebration held in New York City by the Central Labor Union on September 5, 1882. In 1884, the Central Labor Union chose the first Monday in September for their annual Labor Day celebration. The first law that created an official Labor Day holiday was passed in Oregon on February 21, 1887. (That kind of surprised me. No offense to anyone in or from Oregon, but I don’t tend to think of that state as an industrial area.) In 1894, twenty-three states recognized Labor Day as a holiday, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act which made the first Monday of September a legal holiday in Washington, DC.
Did you know the Sunday before Labor Day is Labor Sunday and is supposed to be “dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement”? Neither did I. (All this ‘fascinating’ Labor Day information is courtesy of the U. S. Department of Labor website: http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm)
This Labor Day I’m not looking forward to seeing a parade (the traditional way to celebrate this holiday), or having a picnic or going to a cookout (there are bugs outside; who wants to drag food out of the house to cook or eat while trying to keep flies off the food and mosquitos off of you?). But I am looking forward to having more hours than usual to devote to writing.
That made me think that I really don’t look at writing as work, not even when, under self-imposed deadlines, I’ve written when there were other things I could have been doing (sleeping comes to mind – can never get enough of that!). Did the advent of KDP, Nook, D2D, Lulu, and whoever else is out there, change what was for the majority of writers an avocation into ‘work’ (whether we chose to view it as that or not)? If it is ‘work,’ then it should rightly be termed a labor of love, because we don’t have to do it, nobody’s making us do it, and we’d be doing it whether anyone ever wanted to read it or not (but it’s so much nicer when they do!).
Whatever it is you consider your writing to be, I hope you do end up with extra time to work on it this holiday weekend,if that’s what want to do, and if it’s not, enjoy what you do instead!