Friday, December 9, 2011

Routinely Inspiring

Do routines suck the life out of our creativity and limit our sphere of experience, or provide a stable balance to it?

As a creature of habit I fall into routines rather easily.   I might frequent the same cafe for months; arriving at the same time of day, sitting in the same seat, ordering the same food and/or drinks from my own narrow list of options. 

Certainly routines can quickly become ruts if you're not careful; a trip to Buenos Aires turned into a six-year stay, where you could find me every day on the corner of Juncal and Uruguay eating a Tarta de Pollo (jamon y queso, o berenjena), coffee and medialunas. Still, I find routines add a sense of stability to my unstable life. 
Is that an illusion?  Does it matter? No matter what’s going on in my life, no matter what is up in the air, once a day, week or month I know what to expect when I walk into that cafe; or bar to unwind with a Margarita, or park bench for a cigar. 

When I first became  columnist back in 2000, I started writing my column late a night when the cafe (or diner) was quiet.  I’d often have dinner and unending cups of coffee.  Through trial and error I’ve attempted to write in many different types of places, including the quiet of my own room.  But I found that my mind was more active in public spaces; where I could be aware of the people around me yet disconnected from them. 
Over the years I've settled in to a routine at the cafes, regardless of whether its later afternoon or late night. In fact I'm writing this post at a Starbucks in Mexico, while taking a break from working on my book “The Last Woman and Me.”

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