If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Love of Labor or a Labor of Love

A playhouse my son built last summer for his grandchildren,
It was a true labor of love.

On this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to write about a different kind of love, the love of labor. Now I realize most people, who are still working, look forward to retirement. Probably most people grumble about jobs they need to do. However, research has shown people who are unemployed for much time become depressed and start to feel a loss of self-esteem. But there’s also another kind of love for labor called the “IKEA Effect,” a term coined by researchers, Michael N. Norton, Daniel Mochon and Dan Ariely.

After studying others’ research for years, Norton, Mochon and Ariely started their own research into work as a labor of love. They created three different experiments dividing groups into builders and non-builders. In one the builders were given an IKEA box that needed some assembly with instructions. The non-builders were simply given an IKEA box already assembled and asked to inspect it. At the end, the participants were asked what they thought the identical boxes were worth. Those who were builders rated the boxes much more expensive than the non-builders.

Another experiment had builders making origami animals from a set of instructions. The non-builders and the builders were then to evaluate the origami made by the inexperienced builders along with some made by experts on a price range between $.01 to $1.00. The non-builders rated the inexperienced origami animals as worth $.01. The builders rated them as worth $.25 and all rated the origami animals made by experienced origami makers as worth $.26. Another example of the value a person places on something they have worked to create. The same held true with a third experiment they did using Legos.

The study reminded me of a unit I taught for years in third grade combining a social studies unit on Henry Ford and assembly lines with a science unit on simple machines. My students in groups of four or five became automobile manufacturers. Each group had to come up with a name for their company. Everyone designed a car and the group voted for the best. Their next step was to pick a supervisor. Then they worked on an assembly line to make cars to the design selected.  Each student would make different parts; bodies, wheels, motor, etc. The supervisor was in charge of making sure everyone stayed on task and kept the workers supplied with  materials  - toilet tissue rolls, tag board, construction paper, cereal boxes, clear laminate for windows, etc.

I had made green Henry Ford money in bills of $1.00, $5.00 and $10.00 with a picture of a Model T or Model A on it. As the CEO, I paid the workers at the end of each day’s work (about a half hour). The supervisor got paid the most, of course, as well as something to the student whose design was picked. If I saw a person working diligently at their job and not wandering off to check on another group’s cars, I paid them a bonus. Through the 3 or 4 days they worked on their cars, they also got paid for other things like a 100% on a spelling test, helping someone out when not asked, etc. At the end of the week each automobile company had their cars ready for an auction. I played the part of an auctioneer and auctioned off the cars with lots of funny patter. “Look at this pretty pink car. It’s missing a motor, but that’s no big deal.” Or “This is a darling little sports car even though its wheels keep falling off.”  The kids loved it. Those who had the most money bought the most cars. Some refused to buy until a particular car they’d helped build and favored came up for sale. Of course, I went through the whole patter as the cost of the cars went up and up until I shouted “Going, going, gone! Sold to . . . for . . . dollars.” Although, the IKEA effect research was years later, this was a perfect example. Those kids treasured the cars they helped make even though most were pathetic examples, and they were willing to spend as many Henry Ford dollars as they had to get one in particular that they favored.

 Several days after I wrote this blog, I came across a thank you card for a graduation gift I’d given one of my students when he’d graduated from high school. In it he wrote about his experiences in third grade that made it memorable. The last thing he mentioned was “and even trying our hand at entrepreneurial learning with building cars and selling them.” For me teaching was indeed a labor of love often rewarded in small ways like this thank you card. 

This research makes me wonder about my  labors of love. Obviously writing is a labor of love, but does it allow us to look at our work objectively?   

I could certainly buy vegetables as cheaply as growing them and with a whole lot less labor than those I grow myself. Chicken feed costs more than the few eggs I gather, and since I don't eat many eggs, most of them I give away. The ponies I rationalize keeping for the compost they create. But they are expensive to maintain, and is  the labor involved caring for them worth it? 

What about my other critters - my collie, Maggie, the two barn cats and the two house cats? Then there's the mowing of a rather large yard without a riding lawn mower. I wonder if it would be better to hire someone to mow for me. Are the gardens, animals and mowing all a labor of love or only of maintaining my own self- image of who I am?

What do you consider a true labor or love? Do you feel that way about most of your labors?

For those of you interested in the “IKEA Effect” research simply Google those words. It pops right up.


E. B. Davis said...

I used to enjoy cooking. But now, it's an everyday tedium. Nearly thirty years of trying to drum up dinners everyday has become my labor of love. In the winter, I also make fruit salad every week. It's what I can do to help my family. They work outside of our home. I don't, but I work longer hours.

The labor of love I enjoy--writing. It's hard work, but it's mine.

Gloria Alden said...

I'm with you on the cooking bit, E.B., but I don't ever remember enjoying it all that much. It was a labor of love when I had a family. Now it's something I have to do if I want to eat or if I have family here for a holiday. If I'm not entertaining, I fix enough of something that I can eat over several days or more.

I enjoy writing, too, once I sit down to do it, but I'm great at procrastinating.

Marilyn Levinson said...

What a wonderful post!! I knit--more to keep my hands busy while I watch TV at night than because I need more sweaters. Though, with my first grandchild on the way, I'll be knitting more. And I love to grow herbs in the summer for the sake of seeing them grow.

Warren Bull said...

When we meet people we ask what they and often get the response I'm a {fill in the blank.} People define themselves by the work they do. Amateur derives from the word for love and the first dictionary definition is someone who does an activity for the pleasure it gives them, not as a profession.

Carla Damron said...

I LOVE the idea of the Ikea Effect. I think you just gave me new insight into my husband!!!

Gloria Alden said...

It's good to have something you enjoy doing, Marilyn. I never learned to knit, but always thought I'd like to some day. I grow herbs, too.

Interesting, Warren. I didn't know about amateur being a derivative of love. Does that mean we can't love our profession, too? :-)Maybe it's how much we put of ourselves willingly into our profession.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting, Carla. I'm wondering in which way it has?

Alyx Morgan said...

I love to work with my hands. I find chopping veggies & cooking to be a zen-like experience, & there's just something satisfying about putting together something from IKEA. I've also reupholstered my own couch, but that was more out of financial necessity . . . though it was still kind of fun.

However, I think I would probably price something lower if I knew I could make it myself, mostly because I rarely factor in the cost of my time. For instance, I make quilts for myself & family, but when someone wants to buy or commission one, I can't see charging them $500 or more for it, even though that's considered a VERY low rate. I have no comprehension of the monetary value of creating something for sale, & can't see spending $60 for say a piece of jewelry that I know I could make myself for $15.

Gloria Alden said...

I understand that, Alyx. I used to make and sell paintings and craft items in a former life. My stuff was always priced lower than what one would see of the same quality in a craft store. My sister makes quilts, too, as well as several friends. The time and work that goes into it is well worth $500.00, but finding a buyer willing to pay that much is another thing. If it's Amish made, however, people are willing to pay that and much more.