Abel's 6N6 Challenge

IN SIX MONTHS, I... ran six marathons, built a haunted house, grew & shaved a beard, threw a concert, held a 7-minute plank, hosted a celebrity auction, sold shirts, ate 96 cookies in an hour, and raised over $15,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and an additional $5,000 for various local non-profits. I then served on the LLS's "Man & Woman of the Year" committee, where I helped create and coach "Run Team Kina" with musician Kina Grannis. Together, the participants of RTK raised an astounding $72,000 in ten weeks. Now I work in TV, spend my free-time drawing and writing, & would love to hear from you.

The Gains of Drudgery

"He who has never learned the art of drudgery is never likely to acquire the faculty of great and memorable work, since the greater a man is, the greater is his power of drudgery."

My favorite blog, The Art of Manliness, this week posted a brilliant essay by William James Dawson, originally published in 1894 and celebrating the value of menial labor.  Apropos, I’ve been spending my evenings crawling around in the attic of my neighbor, shoveling and bagging cellulose insulation. 

Its an exhausting, muggy, cramped, dirty, sometimes painful, often frustrating, and always slow-going gig (14 hours and counting).  But I want to learn about construction, my neighbor is rebuilding his place, and clearing out the cellulose is a necessary step before we can raise his ceiling -our ultimate goal.  Its also a fine way to make a few bucks while guaranteeing I’ll get a full-night’s sleep. 

Last night, before I disappeared into the rafters, my neighbor and I were chatting- about work, about marathon training, about some very exciting news regarding my involvement with the LLS Man & Woman of the Year committee (can’t tell you just yet, but its some really stellar news)- basically all the obligations that keep me from working in his attic every night. “And yet you still choose to be here,” my neighbor said, somewhat bemused.  I didn’t have an explanation.  Seemed kind of lame to declare a noble humility in toiling on one’s hands and knees, so I shrugged my shoulders, mumbled something to the effect of, “I could use the money,” and let the question knock around in my skull awhile: Why, really, was I choosing to spend my evening surrounded by cobwebs and exposed nails rather than, say, surrounded by hipsters at the Echo’s free residency show?

But you know what, there IS a certain noble humility in back-breaking drudgery!  There’s tenacity in the willingness to start at the bottom.  There’s endurance in dedicating hours of yourself to a project.  And there’s honor in seeing your obligations through to the end.  Dawson explains it all much more eloquently than I ever could, so just give his essay a read already.  I’m fairly certain it was posted specifically for me, but I’m sure will take something away from it, too.

  1. gillsquirt said: you are modest, your words are quite eloquent! and i completely agree with this post.
  2. runslikeapenguin said: A wonderful post. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  3. stephintolife said: you look like the cellulose insulation killer
  4. kateatahealthyrate said: you’re my idol. I’m having the hardest time trying to do all of my stuff and help others. Seriously, needed this right now. Thanks!
  5. 6n6challenge posted this