SlowDownNow.org: The International Institute of Not Doing Much is a work of fiction by Christopher Richards (Business book ghostwriter).
I started SlowDownNow.org in 2010 as my response to a world that is in a great hurry. I grew up where the pace of life was slow, Wallingford and Benson in 1950s and 1960s England. Later, I went to art school in Winchester, and the pace of life there was agreeably slow. But then I moved to Manhattan! I had culture shock. Everyone I met was in a rush to be some other place than where they were right now. Who would have thought people could be so busy? I decamped to California where I’ve been ever since.
It’s often said that writers write to know what it is they want to say. When I started SlowDownNow.org I only had the vaguest ideas. I’ve always been attracted to Taoism and have a lifelong daily practice of Tai Chi/Qi Gong. These are gentle and slow exercises. I believe they have had a lot to do with maintaining my health and flexibility. Over the years, I’ve tweaked these slow movements based on my personal experience of them. But this site didn’t seem the right venue for me to talk “about” slow exercises because the experience is in the doing. I also became interested in and studied somatic psychology for twelve years exploring the relationships between body posture and emotional experience. But SlowDownNow.org didn’t seem the right place for that either.
And then, one day I was browsing in a bookstore in Oakland and found a remaindered copy of Josef Pieper’s 1948 book: Leisure: The Basis of Culture. It made an impression. So I started to write articles about what he called THE TOTAL WORLD OF WORK.
The book challenges obsessions with work and productivity. Leisure for Pieper is not passive entertainment, usually consumed in a state of exhaustion, but an opportunity for positive, nourishing creativity, learning, discovery, reflection, and practice.
Pieper pointed to the dangers of a system with no free time and where every moment is scheduled. The situation hasn’t got better since 1948. The 1960s promised technology would save us from busyness. Labor-saving gadgets were supposed to allow us to work just a couple of days a week. But those pundits were forgetting Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.” We hear the same promise of liberation from drudgery (or is that thinking?) about AI, today. So, why not write SlowDownNow.org as a life/work balance blog? Yes. That’s what I did.
I had a large number of subscribers. That was good because I had a link to my business writing website and it helped my rankings. But after a while, I wasn’t satisfied because it was veering toward earnestness. I wanted to explore comedic writing. The Slow Movement, which started with Slow Food was anything but playful, and earnest is the enemy of playful. I lost many subscribers at first. Humor is personal. Yet happily, I gained others who told me they laughed.
Thanks to everyone who signed up for Slow News. That list is now closed. Thanks, too, for the feedback about my no longer continuing to write this website. As requested, I’m not going to take it down just yet. I’ll leave it up for another year. But I am working on another project, and if you’d like to be kept in the loop, I’ll be putting an announcement list in place.
It’s been great fun writing this website, and thank you for your appreciative comments.
Thanks for reading,
AKA: Amanda Gladly, Secretary of the International Institute of Not Doing Much/Heather Braithwaite, Mistress of Languid Studies/Major Blaster (Retired)/Bill “Balloon” Belcher, Jr. President of Titanic-Huge Industries/Clarence Flyte-Brinkley, Insomniac/Eleanor Lightly, Spokeswoman & Company Hairstylist for Activity Insurance/Bill, Service Manager at Dave’s Auto Body and Spa/Brian F. U. Grump, VP of Employee Misery/Gertrude Puffery, Dean, School of Self-Absorption/And more…