Thursday, May 28, 2009

Making a Living or Making a Life

Food to eat, something to drink, a place to sleep, and so on: we all need a way to make a living. Enough money or other resources to live on is a simple necessity of life, and fortunate is the person who never has to think about getting it.

In my part of the world, making a living is typically done through work. Most of my friends are employees, and some of them are sufficiently satisfied with their work that they might choose to do it even if not paid. Most, however, make a living through means they would not consider employing but for the pay.

This latter group of people have some free time with which they try to make a life. Fun, family, partying, friends, drinking, arts, leisure, crafts, music, creativity and so many other elements go into the making of a life, as opposed to the making of a living. Fortunate are those who make a happy life.

My situation is a bit unusual in that I have few enough material needs that I can make a living bookselling, and I enjoy bookselling enough that it is part of making of life. Most fortunate am I that bookselling takes so little of my time that there is enough left to make a life, through family, friends and project.

Of my family, my wife is what really counts; I hope I don't offend mother, siblings, mother-in-law and other in-laws by relegating them to a distinctly secondary position. I'm fond of them all but they are more like friends, elements of a life but not so major an element. I'm just being honest here; I don't expect anyone to read this anyway.

The other part of making a life ( distinct from making a living...) is creation. At the joke goes, there are 10 kinds of people: those who use binary and those who don't. In my experience, some consume, others create; there may be those who enjoy both equally but not in my circle. I don't really care about consumption at all; so long as it is reasonably nourishing and tasty, a one-dollar meal is the same at a hundred dollar meal. After all, they come out much the same in the end. (* rimshot *)

I am very fortunate in that technology and society give me opportunity for a great many interesting projects. Here's a few I am working on now; since this is a scrapbook I don't feel the need to put them all done first time out; I'll just update this post as I think of new ones.

Projects for Making a Life

Lawyers for Warriors (L4W)

L4W centers on the idea that no member of the warrior community (servicemenbers, veterans and their families) should lack legal services. The reason is simple: they have paid into the preservation of our Law and should not be disadvantaged thereby. Of course, no one should lack legal services but it helps to have a focus. Since it is noone's job to ensure this is done, noone is ensuring it is done. This makes the project especially worth doing.

  • Lawyers for Warriors blog: the first purpose of L4W is to catalog existing resources in support of the warrior community, so these can more easily be accessed. Some other topics get addressed as well.
  • Lawyers for Warriors listserve: this was my first attempt at setting up a L4W community. It hasn't flown very far or widely; it's interesting to contemplate why.
  • Lawyers for Warriors Facebook cause: this has the potential to build a community, but is in its early stages. We'll see.


Continuing Legal Education is a necessary and expensive part of law practice. Keeping costs low helps lawyers focus on doing their job well, instead of profitably. Free CLE can also be a helpful way for offerors to attract lawyers to their interests, e.g. providing pro bono help. However, communication between offerors of free CLE and attorneys looking for it is very poor; non-profits in particular are terrible at marketing their services. A clearinghouse of information on free CLE in general would be useful.

I was going to call this clearing house something obvious like FreeCLE dot com, but that name was preempted by an early advocate of free CLE; therefore I took up "4freeCLE". At present, it consists of
  • 4freeCLE listserve: I  post announcements of free CLE as I come accross them. I had hoped to build a community, as list members contributed what they found too, but so far, no luck. I should ponder why that is.
  • 4freeCLE blog: This is new as of this month, and I think it's a more attractive way of presenting basically the same information. For example, I can put it on my blogroll (look to the right of this page).
  • 4freeCLE twitter: Yet another new way to present the content. I use twitterfeed to populate this from the blog, so it's really no added work. If I could figure out how to link the blog & the listserve, I'd be even happier, that is to say, even lazier!

Green Spirituality

The more I look into what spirituality is, the more I think that it has to start with how we life. Pick up your trash; don't bust other people's stuff; move like a part of a billion-year stream of life. I don't believe in mystical whoo-whoo stuff, but knowing where I really am in the universe both feels good and leads to projects that are necessarily "green".

Pro Bono & Legal Aid in General

This is turning out to be an interesting project but I'm running out of energy at the moment ...

More projects

I'll add more, but this should suffice for now. Sleep is part of life!

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