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...