I wake up between five and six every morning. I am cautious when opening my eyes, as regardless of whether the curtains are drawn or not, I know that I will be hit by a whirling mass of light particles. I hope that one day, I will learn what causes them – for now, they follow me everywhere I go. Once I have accustomed my eyes to being open, I slip out of bed, have a shower, and head outside to have a cigarette.
Slightly dizzy, I head back up the two flights of stairs leading to the flat, and go straight to the kitchen – I must admit that coffee (one heaped teaspoon of instant coffee, two small teaspoons of sugar, and lots of milk) is something that I cannot live without. Coffee is usually followed by a light breakfast. While I eat – usually on the sofa, by the balcony – I think over my to-do-list for the day, and occasionally make some notes in my notebook which become poems later in the day and make a few loose sketches.
I sit at the kitchen table (my preferred workspace, with easy access to more coffee when needed) and turn my laptop on around eight o’clock – Marc, for that’s his name, is seven years old this December and takes quite a while to power up. While he’s doing his thing, I check Twitter and Instagram, catching up with anything that I have missed and bookmarking poems and articles to read later.
I try my best not to get distracted while I work, which is much easier said than done, for my mind works overtime, and my thoughts tend to become rather overwhelming. My workload depends on the day – usually, I am done by mid-morning if I manage to stay focused. The next couple of hours are dedicated to writing and writing only – individual poems, and an assortment of projects which remain a secret for now. This is the pocket of time when the corporeal world blurs and during which I get completely lost in my mind, my thoughts forming the tiny universes which I then translate into words. I always write out my initial drafts by hand – poems come to me in waves, and I often find it hard to read my handwriting, but I cannot imagine my writing process looking any different.
I often hear music when writing, coming from the liminal space between my writing headspace and the outside world. If it’s particularly loud, I open up FL Studio and tinker around until I get the track to sound as close to the music as possible. I often multitask this with finishing any sketches created earlier in the day.
I try to go out for a walk at least once a day. I am lucky to live on the very edges of my town and have recently discovered a footpath among wheat fields and a small woodland area which leads to a secluded area overlooking grazing sheep. On days when I feel particularly productive and inspired, I tend to bring my notebook with me and carry on writing.
By the time I get back home, my partner is awake, and the rest of the afternoon is dedicated to spending time with them and catching up with household chores.
My evening ritual consists of typing up what I have written through the day, as well as editing (both written work and music), accompanied by biscuits, a cup of tea (as strong as possible, one sugar, and a dash of milk), and reading. This is also when I send out submissions, as well as work on the Final Cut Zine – go through any new submissions in the zine’s inbox and send out decisions. My dwarf hamster, Cybil, usually wakes up just before midnight, and I make sure I spend enough time with her every day as well.
I fall asleep anywhere between one and three o’clock – somehow, the best lines always come to me just before I fall asleep, and I often find myself waking up and writing them down throughout the night.
There are, of course, days when my mental and physical health makes even the most mundane of tasks difficult – on those days, I try my best to allow myself to rest, and the writing happens mostly in my head.
Grace Alice Evans (she/they) is a LGBTQ+, mixed-heritage poet, writer, sound/visual artist and survivor, whose work explores living with mental illness, trauma, recovery, and the dichotomy between the inner and outer worlds. Grace’s social media handle is @gracealiceevans, and her website can be found following the link at http://linktr.ee/gracealiceevans.