Life can be exhausting.

 
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It's Labour Day and I'm thinking about the weird ways that labour works. The labour of getting up, tending to what needs to be tended to, seeing the headlines, still eating breakfast. The labour of phones peeping and toes getting stubbed and the dentist appointment that needs to be rescheduled, the guilt rising again.

I hear it constantly in my intake phone calls with new students.

I just need a break.
I want to make something that's just for me.
I want to feel a spark again.
I've had a really hard year.

When I get tired I want to hide in bed watching RuPaul's Drag Race on my laptop and eating outlandishly flavoured potato chips. (Marshall is also a fan.) I don't even like chips, but the combination of them with covers up and TV on is intoxicating. I want to be nowhere, invisible, far from the noise. I'm sure you have your version of that. And it's good — Ru's eye shadow like a purple sunset, fake dill pickle vibrating on my lips — I'm not ashamed of it. Or I try not to be. Sometimes that's work too.

But that scene — the hiding out, the dulling of senses — doesn't actually make me feel better.

For me, better comes from slow quiet morning moments listening to the dog crunch his kibble. Better comes from helping, donating, volunteering, small actions towards the good. Better comes from writing letters to old friends late at night, pen pressing, getting it out. Again, I'm sure you have your version.

I'm actually just ending a vacation today, a vacation that I mostly handed over to the Ru-Paul-Dill-Pickle-Chips version of rest, and I'm feeling off. Labour day, back at my desk, restless and un-rested, hungry for the fall to fill me with something new. I know that what's missing isn't energy, it's vitality. It's fire, verve, aliveness.

Now of course, I'm biased. Look at my job. But I've seen a million times how writing and vitality are twisted together so tight you can't find the line. Another couple things I hear All The Time:

I was so tired I didn't want to come to class tonight but now I can't imagine having missed this.
I can't believe I'm leaving with more energy than I had coming in.
I feel like staying up all night writing.

Making stuff feels good. Being seen is exhilarating. Telling our stories shakes out our insides, moves our blood around, makes room.

If you want to breathe some fire into your fall, we’ve just launched our menu of, I believe, stunningly beautiful ways to do so. Head to our workshop page for more info.

Whatever your path, I'm wishing you sparks of light as the air hardens off and the nights spread out. We're here for your voice, and for the fiery joy that's released when you use it. We're also hear for crinkle chips and TV in bed, or whatever your version of that may be.

Chris Fraser