Every day is different. Sometimes I work at my library from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Other days I work 4:00 p.m. to midnight. Next week, once winter break begins, I'll work from noon to 8:00 p.m. Like I said, every day is different. Most of my poetry (the first drafts, at least) are completed while on the clock, regardless of the time of day. They're easy to spit out in between library tasks as my first drafts never take longer than 10 minutes and usually only take about five. When I'm off the clock (especially on weekends), I rarely write new poems. Instead, I revisit and edit older poems, work on content for my website, finalize freelance work, and spend time with my partner. We recently vacationed in Uruguay, started watching The Good Place, and now we're hooked. Without further ramble, here's a 'Day in the Life' for myself, Ben Niespodziany, on Monday, December 10, 2018.
[Note: I believe that all of the information included below assists with my creative process. It’s all equally as important. I try to read just as much as I write and I find myself inspired and revitalized after visiting the gym. Even my lengthy commute to work allows me time to reflect and brainstorm. Also, sleep. Also, coffee.]
December 10 was soundtracked by:
ALEX and Kendall Miles - Hollow Moon
Benny the Butcher – Tana Talk 3
Smino - NOIR
6:35 a.m. - Wake up call. I pay a man to knock on my door every morning since I refuse to use an alarm clock. Not really. It's a typical ringtone. The sun isn't quite awake and neither am I.
7:01 a.m. - Drive to the library.
8:00 a.m. - Arrive at the library. Clock in. Open the library. Turn on the lights and the computers. Turn off forwarding of the phones. Check in books. Check email.
8:27 a.m. - Read a few poems from Anthem for the Wounded by M.A. Vizsolyi.
8:46 a.m. - Enjoy my first cup of coffee. Medium roast. No room for cream.
8:51 a.m. - Write my first poem. A poem about falling asleep.
9:02 a.m. - Write my second poem. A poem about a car crash.
9:20 a.m. - Write my third poem. A poem about a new brain.
9:25 a.m. - Write my fourth poem. A poem about a snow injury.
9:49 a.m. - Read a handful of stories/fables from Cradle Book by Craig Morgan Teicher.
10:15 a.m. - Write my fifth poem. A nonsensical, lyrical poem.
10:33 a.m. - Read two poems online by Hala Alyan.
10:51 a.m. - Write my sixth poem. A poem about an animal in a burrito.
10:56 a.m. - Write my seventh poem. A poem about a toy soldier.
11:09 a.m. - Write my eighth poem. A poem about a sinking island.
12:25 p.m. - Spend my hour-long lunch break reading Micheline Aharonian Marcom's The Brick House.
1:13 p.m. - Read a handful of poems from Ben Mirov's collection, Hider Roser.
1:51 p.m. - Write my ninth poem. A poem about chickpeas and broken watches.
2:11 p.m. - Purchase a Sprite.
2:16 p.m. - Compile the list of my favorite films of 2018 to publish on neonpajamas.com the following day.
2:45 p.m. - Write my tenth poem. A poem about firefighters and kites.
3:40 p.m. - Write my eleventh poem. A poem about Ohio.
4:00 p.m. - Clock out of the library. Drive home.
5:00 p.m. - Change clothes. Go to the gym.
6:00 p.m. - Return home. Eat dinner. Shower.
6:51 p.m. - Freelance work for independent artists. Write two Spotify bios.
8:10 p.m. - Freelance work for Chillhop Records. Send interview/feature questions to one illustrator, one designer, and fourteen music producers.
8:35 p.m. - Edit and go through poems I wrote back in October. I often write my first drafts in 5-10 minutes, then revisit them two months later. The ones that make the cut past the second draft will be printed for a handwritten (and hopefully final) third draft. Sometimes a fourth, fifth, sixth draft is necessary. Only about 10% of my writing makes it to the print stage.
9:00 p.m. - Finish an episode of the Great British Baking Show and watch an episode of The Good Place with my partner.
10:18 p.m. - Read three poems by C.T. Salazar.
10:31 p.m. - Write my twelfth and final poem. A poem about mustard. Set my alarm for 6:35 a.m. Fall asleep.
Ben Niespodziany is a librarian at the University of Chicago. He runs the multimedia art blog and record label [neonpajamas] and has had work published in Cheap Pop, Paper Darts, Pithead Chapel, and various others. He hopes to one day be sponsored by Sprite.