Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I dreamed a thousand new paths but woke and walked my old one

For some time I have felt awash with the tedium of routine. The longer it lingered, the more its weighty grip choked and squeezed me dry. Drip by drip everything fled- inspiration, motivation, purpose. So I decided to set myself a challenge. Step away from my electronic life and embrace the world beyond it. Could I exist one week without modern comforts and would it give me the inspiration I craved?

Day 1. Instead of my usual routine- computer on, check emails, search jobs- I go for a walk. The wind is brutal with my curly hair, rain blistering against skin and my shell quivers. But it feels good. There is something quite freeing- exhilarating- about full lungs of fresh air. By the time I reach home, fingers pink and numb, a new idea simmers and I feel like I'm on to something. I go to bed and read a book by candlelight. As golden flames lick shadows, the story leaks inspiration. If I'm going to embrace this simple life and live like Walden, I won't do it by halves.

Day 2. Bypass the computer and march outside. The elements are far more forgiving and the sun welcomes me with a warm hand. I buy a stack of newspapers and sit reading headlines and job descriptions. I usually do this online- quickly- eyes roam speedily and I click link after link until I arrive at a different subject entirely. Who says you can't link a PA job in Hammersmith to a 1979 Pink Floyd album? But there's no option of that in Greenwich Park, with black fingerprints and a pile of paper yet to feel the wrath of my Dad's recycling mission.

Day 3. Job centre. World's slowest typist tells me to continue my search online. 'No,' I say. 'I'm not using the Internet this week.' She glares. 'And why is that?' I hesitate. 'I'm hoping it will inspire me- not using the computer or watching TV. I feel a bit overloaded with information and need a break from it.' She sighs. 'Don't we all, dear. Don't we all.' The walk home is lengthy but full of people and I watch like I'm watching TV. I just wish I had a remote.

Day 4. Desperate to check emails, I almost crack. Somehow, willpower awakens and I throw a bed-sheet over the computer, as if that will help. My netbook appears- shiny, compact- attracting me like a Magpie. But I've come too far. Later, mum asks if I can find out about an Actor and again- the lure of Google almost proves too much. 'Sorry- the Internet Movie Database will have to wait.' Damn.

Day 5. I feel tranquil. My brain works efficiently and I am fully accustomed to writing with a pen again. At first my handwriting was a brutal scrawl needing its own translator. But now it is delicate and beautiful and I imagine my pen is a quill and my tea-stained paper is really very old. Add these to candlelight and maybe I will write like Shakespeare. Re-reading my work later, I find that perhaps it does have too many malapropisms and oxymorons. Hmmm.

Day 6. Worry sets in. Have not written my blog for a week nor have I read any. Emails probably stacking up too. And mum is still on about that bloody Actor. I hesitate before ripping off the bed-sheet, rubbing the screen like it's my precious. Oh Google. How I missed you.

Well, reader. You can't say I didn't try...


  1. So very close... I really enjoyed this post. It's nice to have you back.

  2. God I must do this sometime. Got a holiday booked in July for a week - if I don't check anything during that week, does it count? Seriously, the constant need to check Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Skype and emails (all three accounts) is the biggest single obstacle in my writing process.
    *Plentymorefishoutofwater - One Man's Dating Diary*

  3. Quality post. I couldn't live without the internet for a day.

  4. Oh man Lou. You have me giggling to myself thinking how I would make it a week without the INTERNET. WHOA! I would never make it as long as you. Congrads. And you have my utmost admiration. You go girl!!

    You still did good. I am in awe. =)

    Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit (Happy Saint Patrick's Day.) And you never celebrated it? Say it ain't so, dear Lou. Say it ain't so! (^_^)

  5. Hunter: Glad you enjoyed it! It's actually nice to be back- it felt wrong being away from the blogosphere so long.

    Fish: I'm sure you will survive a holiday abroad without all the electronic connection- i do usually. You'll have plenty to do or likely you'll just be drunk somewhere. You won't even think of the internet! But try ignoring the computer that sits there in your room mocking you. Bet you couldn't do that.

    Anon: Thanks!

    Robyn: Tis true. I have never celebrated St Paddy's Day! I am a dishonour to my Irish roots! Though yesterday i did have a guiness and set one up to my Nan (she was Irish and died in October). :)

  6. Great post and I love your title.

  7. I can totally relate. I had to get broadband while visiting my mom because I can't do a day without the Internet. Sad...

  8. Great Post! And you inspired me. I deactivated my Facebook account one night but the first thing I did the next morning was log back in and reactivate it after a night spent thinking about all the possible messages I might not get because of my spontaneous deactivation. I'm not proud of this. I know I couldn't go a week.

  9. Melissa: Thank you. I take no credit for the title. It's a chinese proverb. I do love my quotations!

    Sarah: Thanks for stopping by! It's scary how much we depend on the internet. I could live a day without it, easily. But i wouldn't choose that option, ordinarily!

    Ninnles: Thank you. It's always nice to hear i've inspired someone. That's great. As for re-activating Facebook- i did the same about 2 days later but deactivated it again minutes afterwards. Maybe you'll do the same...eventually... :)


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