October 14 rituals and/or routines

A new book is due to come out about the daily rituals of creative writers and artists, which will no doubt recount the routines of Proust, Balzac and Beethoven with their excessive or over-pernickety consumption of coffee, the precise timings of Emmanuel Kant’s walks and the early morning habits of any number of scribblers or tunesmiths. Rituals, of course, are the same as routines but doused in the whiff of incense by dint of being performed by grander folk. Routines are rituals minus the sanctimoniouness.

I often consider whether I am a person of rituals/routines or not. Living alone, I believe I have more free time than most people and know how easy it is to lose yourself in an ocean of freedom. A few years ago when I was unhappily freelance I understood I need a structure of sorts, although last year when I worked full time I realized you can have too much. My happiness lies between the two. At weekends I need some shape; the Saturday morning cafe; the Saturday morning newspaper; scrambled eggs for lunch. All little rituals of mine own invention. But nothing ruins a weekend more than chocabloc rituals.

Parents have their rituals/routines set for them by the requirements of their kids. Sitting bedraggled watching an offspring spring off a bouncy castle, they invest in the child as much as Proust with his night shifts over pen and ink was investing in his novel. The lives of parents are locked into rituals/routines. My scrambled eggs are the best I’ve got.


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