There should be a word for the pleasure felt in gaining a surreptitious glimpse into the lives of others. It is often the “banal” morsels of information about others we find strangely fascinating; what someone ate for breakfast, what time they went to bed. With her new online project, Extraordinary Routines, writer and editor Madeleine Dore reveals the rituals of some of Melbourne’s most interesting creative minds.
Extraordinary Routines features a series of long-form profiles and interviews, as well as an hour-by-hour sketch of Dore’s subjects’ weekly routines. “I was curious about how other people navigated the simple things in life to make room for the extraordinary… [it] has been a wonderful way for me to keep having these conversations with people I admire,” she says. Recent interviewees include Lucy Feagins of The Design Files and Melbourne-based artist Minna Gilligan.
While Extraordinary Routines stresses the diversity and quirks of its subjects – Jeremy Wortsman of the Jacky Winter Group eats porridge for lunch every day and Lucy Feagins will often conduct her meetings standing to prevent wasting time – there’s also a distinct emphasis on the universality of the creative experience. Dore has noticed a common theme in, “automating the things we find dull or tedious,” such as planning meals in advance and freezing them or allocating a block of time for e-mails, to allow more time for the magic.
“Creativity often needs space,” she says, “so creating order in other areas of your life means you have the time to do nothing and let creativity do its thing.”
“What I really want to show with the project is that we are all human – we all go through creative slumps or experience depression, we neglect our family and friends, we order takeout several nights in a row, we sleep in and battle hangovers. But it doesn’t have to prevent us from creating, learning and building the type of life we want.”
Dore describes her own daily routine as, “Very much a work in progress.” When she’s not working on Extraordinary Routines, she’s a full-time writer and editor at ArtsHub. In the evening she may head to an event, talk or exhibition, or out to dinner with a friend. Here’s what’s on her radar.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry
The Philosophers Mail newsletter by The School of Life
The Great Discontent
On the Shortness of Life by Senaca
Ladies of Leisure zine
The Good Life podcast
Design Matters with Debbie Millman podcast
Meditations podcast by Tara Brach
Beethoven for background writing music
Magic1278 for grooving (and being reminded life is short with the intermittent radio ads for funeral homes!)