Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: A Passion for Work



In books: truth, and daring, passion of all sorts. Clear and sweet and savory emotion did not run in a rippling stream in my personal world— more pity to it! But in stories and poems I found passion unfettered, and healthy. Not that such feelings were always or even commonly found in their clearest, most delectable states in all the books I read. Not at all! I saw what skill was needed, and persistence— how one must bend one’s spine, like a hoop, over the page— the long labor. I saw the difference between doing nothing, or doing a little, and the redemptive act of true effort. Reading, then writing, then desiring to write well, shaped in me that most joyful of circumstances— a passion for work.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Staying Alive” in Upstream, Selected Essays



  1. True effort and passion do create joy and meaning! And reading her work reminds us of that. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. to love what and where you spend your day laboring, is truly a gift. i feel lucky in this way –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yes. To … Find one’s calling and then, to go forth on That Path is joyful. Difficult, challenging and wonderful.
    Mary Oliver. A Wise Woman.

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    • She is. She really is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And agree that finding one’s calling can be all that Debi. And your comment reminds me of William Stafford’s thinking on the topic:

      I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don’t have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along.

      – William Stafford, An Interview with William Stafford (February, 1971)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice header image. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t recall ever having seen a photo of Mary Oliver. Thank you for sharing it plus the quote. For some reason I thought she was from an earlier era.

    Liked by 1 person

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