Daily Routines

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Daily Routines

Every wonder how W.H. Auden started his day? How about with a hefty dose of amphetamines!

He swallowed Benzedrine every morning for twenty years, from 1938 onward, balancing its effect with the barbiturate Seconal when he wanted to sleep. (He also kept a glass of vodka by the bed, to swig if he woke up during the night.) He took a pragmatic attitude toward amphetamines, regarding them as a "labor-saving device" in the "mental kitchen," with the important proviso that "these mechanisms are very crude, liable to injure the cook, and constantly breaking down."

Me, I'm more of a Simone de Beauvoir (except I don't see Sartre at lunchtime):

I'm always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day. I first have tea and then, at about ten o'clock, I get under way and work until one. Then I see my friends and after that, at five o'clock, I go back to work and continue until nine. I have no difficulty in picking up the thread in the afternoon. When you leave, I'll read the paper or perhaps go shopping. Most often it's a pleasure to work.

How does your routine stack up?

Issues Pages: 

It was drizzling very slightly: in the street the lamps were shedding long, oily blurs of light. He looked back, and Rhoda was standing, in actual flesh, at one of the lower windows. From street level it looked as though her pointed chin was piercing the sill. Her receded eyes reflected the same blur of night and rain in which he had been plunged. Or was it something less impersonal? He remembered her saying: I don't believe artists know half the time what they're creating. Oh yes, all the tralala, the technique - that's another matter. But like ordinary people who get out of bed, wash their faces, comb their hair, cut the tops off their boiled eggs, they don't act, they're instruments which are played on, or vessels which are filled - in many cases only with longing. Was it this? or had he dreamed or imagined, or heard it from another quarter?

From Patrick White's The Vivisector
Not my daily routine, but I really like the topic.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Ooo. I like that. Thanks, Ripple. Reminds me of the way Philip Marlowe makes his coffee:

I turned the hot water on and got the coffee-maker down off the shelf. I wet the rod and measured the stuff into the top and b that time the water was steaming. I filled the lower half of the dingus and set it on the flame. I set the upper part on top and gave it a twist so it would bind. The coffee maker was almost ready to bubble. I turned the flame low and watched the water rise. It hung a little at the bottom of the glass tube. I turned the flame up just enough to get it over the hump and then turned it low again quickly. I stirred the coffee and covered it. I set my timer for three minutes. Very methodical guy, Marlowe. Nothing must interfere with his coffee technique. Not even a gun in the hand of a desperate character. The coffee was all down and the air rushed in with its usual fuss and the coffee bubbled and then became quiet. I removed the top of the maker and set it on the drainboard in the socket of the cover. I poured two cups and added a slug to his.

--Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)

George Victor

From the last letter in Saul Bellow Letters  (ed.Benjamin Taylor, dated Feb. 19, 2004): "I don't do much of anything these days and I spend much of my time indoors. By far my pleasantest diversion is to play with Rosie, now four years old." 

The letters began in 1932.  Having completed editing of Ravelstein, his memory could still provide the material by which he described himself, and his many characters, throughout 85 years of life. The "last letter" continued: "It seems to me that my parents wanted me to grow up in a hurry and that I resisted, dragging my feet. They (my parents, not my feet) needed all the help they could get. They were forever asking, "What does the man say?" and I would translate for them into heavy-footed English. That didn't help much either. The old people were as ignorant of English as they were of Canadian French. We often stopped before a display of children's shoes. My mother coveted for me a pair of patent-leather sandals with an elegantissimo strap. I finally got them - I rubbed them with butter to preserve the leather. This is when I was six or seven years old, a little older than Rosie is now. Amazing how it all boils down to a pair of patent-leather sandals.

"I send an all-purpose blessing..."