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On Ruts and Grooves


Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

We’ve been away for the half term, and I’ve been having a hard time finding my groove. Every time we travel (and sometimes when I go out to the theatre), I come back home a little different. This time, because the trip significantly challenged my worldview, it’s been a little more challenging. It also could be because I’m starting what I thought would be an edit and turned out to be a wholesale re-write of the first novel I’ve written. 


But it got me thinking about the phrase finding your groove. A groove, initially, meant a cave or a ditch, interestingly related to the word grave. But at the beginning of the 20th century, it became the word for the spiral cuts on a vinyl record, and then it became synonymous with jazz playing and good things. 


Now, let’s take the word “rut”, which also means a ditch (particularly those left by the wheels of a wagon on a muddy path). It took a completely different turn. Being in a rut means being in a suffocating, monotonous routine, doing the same things repeatedly without results. Perhaps this negative connotation arose because it’s so close to the word “rot”. You’ll be rotting in a rut but grooving in a groove. 


This drives home–again–the idea of productivity as balance. Like productivity, there’s a delicate balance to a routine. Too much routine, and it becomes a rut. But just enough routine gives you that wonderful groovy feeling. 


I’m still trying to find that balance. It doesn’t help that the next few weeks are entirely un-routine. But hopefully, I can get back in the groove before Easter break. 

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