Writer’s Routine


The alarm announces the day with an irritating excuse for an uneven melody. Perfect because it works. Five a.m. and the long days journey into night begins. No light yet, just the stirring sounds of workers reluctantly preparing for a repeat of yesterday.

The dog lets out a barks of frustration as a lone male walks in front of the house. The thought of breakfast breaks through the befuddled mind as it fights the urge to remain inactive. No bouncing out of bed to meet this new day. Slow right sided roll to the edge of the bed, then an arm thrush to stagger into an upright position. Unsteady gait, a balancing act on an imaginary tight rope, undignified thrusting of one then the other leg into the opening of a pair of shorts. The engine needs time to warm up.

The early morning pre-dawn air is thick with moisture as he walks up the stairs to the kitchen at the back of the house to prepare the breakfast. Two bowls of cereal and three cups of coffee begins the ritual. Pairs of eyes stare into miniature screens to peruse any information that has made a difference. The sounds of eating, ironing and bathroom duties reverberates throughout the house as time watching becomes increasing paramount.

Six a.m. is the deadline for departure, to be met by most members of the household except for me. The first sliver of tropical light dances over the surface of the weatherboard houses. Wave goodbye, watch the car disappear around the corner and like a recluse retreats to the sanctuary of electronic aids of information and creativity. The door is firmly closed and locked to shut out the increasing active outside world.

Time marches on, an active mind makes it fly along, an inattentive one grinds it to a halt. Reflection and mulling leads to periods of both. Hours can turn into minutes or minutes turn into hours; the dice of daily fate decides. Thus is the meanderings of a reluctant scribe.

Inspiration flows like a creek bed in a dry country; flood or drought with zilch in between. The tap is either on or off.

Working feverishly on the keyboard, thoughts to bytes building upon themselves creating layers of stone to support the complexity of ideas that form the structure of a new story.
Otherwise, lying on the bed watching the mosquitoes circling the room wondering which one will attack next.

Ten thirty and the next pattern begins. Showered and prepared to enter the outside world of predictable chaos. The ebb and flow of unbridled emotions a constant in the background during the walk from one sanctum to another – the coffee shop. Twenty minutes of automation, one foot in front of another, no thought involved, a well ingrained path in the memory of routine.

Sanctum Two, the weigh station, the second home of possible creativity. Coffee and cake, the fuel needed to plough on through a very long day.

Fleeting moments of conversation coupled with reading and writing; the pattern never straying too far from the original. Struggling to avoid the pitfalls of staying relevant to the world of the reader, staring and thinking, examining every nook and cranny for inspiration.

Twelve thirty, work completed, uncompleted or not started. The dice only knows;
automation takes over again.

Inner sanctum one has changed shape and form by the afternoon light. Neither comforting nor reassuring, but a place that separates the outside world from the existential self.

Period of satisfaction or despair, the struggle continues on and off until five pm when the routine of others intervene. The need for sustenance brings with it normality as daily events are discussed around the table. Writer’s inspirational thoughts and ideas simmer in the background all but forgotten.

Domestic duties prevail until seven thirty. Propped up in bed, no television, nor radio for distractions, just the electronic companion which screen dimly lights the four nondescript walls. Ideas surface without warning; being prepared to grab and mould them when they do is the key. The search never stops, the peak is never conquered, good is never good enough. Productive or not, the end comes when the writer no longer needs this day but yearns for the next.


The day The Internet Stopped

Headline, headline read all about it, shock horror!

October the 12th 2018 at 9am, the day the Internet died.

Just what if… the unthinkable happened, the Internet stopped. Stopped, ceased to function in its entirety. Computers once again became self-contained isolated islands in a sea of unaccessible information. Good for writing on, doing some sums and playing games. That’s it! The smart phone lost its smarts. The iPad was now a no info dumb pad, only good for games and taking photos.

We have just all become time travellers, back, back…
25 years to the dawn of information enlightenment.

But why?

Rumours abounded that it was them, the powers to be, who wanted to wind back the clock to a time and place they could control. The drift of power to the people had become too much for some. Who knows?

For whatever reason it was, it just stopped working one day, gone the next.

As for me? At first, I found it slightly bemusing. It wasn’t like everything had stopped. Like, I mean to say, it wasn’t the end of the world, not a sequel to “Day of the Triffids” or anything as dramatic as that. The cars and buses moved along the street. The shops still sold food and other goodies. Life bobbled along as usual. Besides, it made very little difference to the older generation. Most have never really embraced the computer age, the Internet thing. No siree, made not a jot of difference to them. They continued to watch television and read their newspapers like nothing had happened.

But then the reality for others was quite different.

The young were at a loss. No instant gratification posting selfies or social chat. For many their world is online; no Internet no life. The prospect of having to make personal contact with their distant Internet friends was now impossible. Those friendships however tenuous were now extinct. The art of conversation in person had to be relearned and not just that, but eye contact, looking at people instead of a screen; painfully difficult for some.

Now before I go on, I will have to confess something to you. Even though I don’t pass off these days as a youngster, I’m not ancient either, but I do love finding out things. You see I’m a bit of an information junkie, so after the initial shock of losing my play thing, I became deeply depressed. After a few days, I was finding withdrawal difficult to handle. My daily fix was not getting met. In fact I was at a lost to know what to do. Relying on the printed media (never watch TV) for my daily dose of info was without doubt unsatisfactory.

I had become over the years skeptical about a lot of the things written in newspapers. The owners political leanings dictated the direction most articles expressed. I know, I know, what you are saying. Can’t belief what you read on the Internet too, but there is a difference and a big one at that. I can choose to read what I want and not be restricted to local sources. And more importantly, I can choose different forms of information delivery, social networking versus more formal sources of information, for example. By using both I could decipher, as they say, the chaff from the wheat or to put it more crudely the crap from the good. I had the control, not them. Besides, it was fun trying to work out fact from fiction. I could discuss issues with others of similar ilk with ease and at little cost and come to my own conclusions.

Think of the disputes that will now occur around the dinner table. Mr X says A, Miss Y says that’s not true, it’s B, Mrs Z thinks they’re both wrong it’s C, old aunt doubleXX thinks it’s all three! No instant confirmation now. No going to the Internet to solve the dispute. Just a lingering background of unease; life will never be the same again!

I was dreading having to pay the bills! I used to hate going into a bank or what every public utility at the best of times, waiting in line forever. What a complete waste of one’s time. Much prefer being online, done and dusted in a few minutes not to mention the saving on fuel to get there.

The cat had been let out the bag so to speak, but was now securely back in.

Maybe I’ve become a little paranoid.

Oh, well such is life. Think of the positives. Ummm, are there any? Oh yes, of course: books shops would come back into vogue; I might read a novel (hard copy) in the evenings before bed again; talk on the phone instead of looking at its screen all day; go for a walk to smell the roses. Maybe not all is lost.

It’s hard to go back in time and live a way you are used to then, but are not now. Like most things there is good and bad. The scales of right justness will tell us if we come up short or not.

I look down at my lonely white phone and sigh, It was a lovely love affair while it lasted, but like all good things, it has come to an unexpected end.