Over the last few years, “a day in the life” has never looked so stagnant. What was once routine has become standstill; we’ve lost the little rituals we used to take for granted. To find them again, we have to look at life a little differently. We created our ongoing series 9am to 9pm to get a glimpse into where artists find creative inspiration in their daily lives.
In this edition, Erin Anne takes us through her day in Los Angeles. Read her thoughts below as she shows off her home recording studio, goes for a late-afternoon tennis match with her girlfriend, and receives a very special delivery.
9AM. I slowly and naturally come to consciousness, stirred by the sound of birds screaming in the trees directly outside my window and the smell of coffee from the kitchen. (My girlfriend, Lindsey, is always up before me and is sweet enough to make me breakfast most days! It’s very, very cute.) I check emails and the news, shudder, and retreat into the comforting wash of surreal memes and nonsense that is Tumblr. Mornings have never been easy for me, but lately, I’ve been feeling it more than ever.
10:05AM. I remove one foot from the bed and place it on the floor. I stay here for a minute until I get up the courage to let the rest of my body follow, melting towards the edge of the mattress on my back until I’ve achieved some semblance of an upright position. I shuffle towards my bathrobe hanging on the back of the closet door and pull it around myself like a shield.
10:07AM. I make my way into the kitchen and find hot coffee and oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts waiting on the table for me. I feel like a child emperor just typing that sentence; but hey, I can’t help that I have an incredibly kind girlfriend who knows I’d be subsisting exclusively on Soylent if I lived alone! I pop my headphones in and listen to the newest episode of “Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata” as I consume my nutrients and caffeine. The morning ritual continues with several rounds of Mario Kart: World Tour. I started playing at the beginning of the pandemic, and since, it’s become my everyday mode of soft entry into the day.
10:58AM. My podcast episode ends, and it’s time to get an actual move on. I get up from the kitchen table and put together a stunning work-from-home look. Oh, yes. This will do just excellently.
11AM. I make my way into the office/studio and get to work on my morning pages: twenty(ish) minutes of nonstop stream of consciousness writing to clear the dirty water out of my mind and release the to-do lists, anxieties, and other nagging thoughts. I’ve only just recently started doing this—I’ve never read The Artist’s Way, but learned about morning pages through my co-instructors (Amy Kuney and Allie Schulz, ily!!! Listen to their music!!!) for a summer songwriting course we taught to high school students a few weeks ago.
Every time I write these pages, I miss those kids just a little bit more. I usually teach undergrads (I’m a PhD student in musicology at UCLA), all of whom are a delight—but they’re all old enough to know the heaviness of the world in all its profundity, and we’re often in a similar place emotionally in our discussions. The high schoolers just have such an amazing zest for life about them. They’ve reminded me of many of the simple joys of musicking in all its forms. Of course, they’ve also shown me that they know no shortage of pain… but they’ve found a way to paint it in brighter colors, somehow. I’m tremendously proud of them.
11:18AM. I make my way over to the other desk to get to work on some live arrangements for my upcoming show. We’re going to be performing an old song in a higher key and at a faster tempo, so I’ll need to re-record the synth part and then upload it to the sample pad. I start to get carried away and consider adding a few sequencers, too… but the session starts going off the rails, and I remind myself that it’s okay to let my own live performance carry the song. I can sometimes get caught up in the feedback loop between my own sincere love for maximalism and my insecurity about being “interesting enough.” I remind myself that I don’t need to hide behind multiple layers of cushioning and that the song rips on its own.
1:13PM. I’ve been deep in hyper-focus mode for a couple of hours now. Suddenly, I get a notification on my computer—it’s an invitation from Lindsey, and I have no choice but to accept. It’s an offer few could refuse.
1:30PM. I’m already back into working on these live arrangements and have since forgotten about the invitation, which I thought was perhaps just a fun little bit. I receive a text.
1:31PM. I assume that this, too, is part of the bit. I giggle and keep recording.
1:34PM. It becomes clear that this is, in fact, not a drill when I hear “What I Want” blasting from the living room speakers at full volume. I have no choice but to surrender to the sound. I enter the living room to find Lindsey mid-spin. We both start jumping up and down. The worn elastic waistband of my shorts cannot survive the force of my passion for this music, and they fall to the ground. I kick them over onto the couch and carry on without a care.
1:40PM. “Runner’s High” ends and we both collapse onto the couch in laughter. We realize we are hungry and turn the music down so that we can figure out what we want for lunch. We settle on some avocado toast with an egg on it, I think? I don’t really remember—I was so hungry that I ate it all before remembering to take a photo to document the occasion. Oops.
2:04PM. I decide to check the mail. LOOK WHAT I FIND! MY RECORDS HAVE ARRIVED!
2:17PM. Unboxing complete, and look! At! That! Gorgeous! Blood! Spatter! Vinyl! I couldn’t be more excited to be holding this right now. No notes. “Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show-stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, unafraid to reference or not reference, put it in a blender, shit on it, vomit on it, eat it, give birth to it…”
2:30PM. This new arrival is giving me the emotional energy I needed in order to complete some administrative tasks necessary for me to advance to PhD candidacy, at long last. I’ve already written my dissertation proposal… but there are lots of documents I need to compile in order to get to the stage where I’m actually allowed to defend it. Filling out forms is generally my nightmare (executive dysfunction all day every day), but today it seems just a tiny bit more manageable. I gather my documents together in record time and send them along to my department. I am unstoppable. I will be writing this dissertation in no time.
2:37PM. I receive a reply from my department. Apparently, these were not the only forms I needed to fill out. My nemesis, university bureaucracy, strikes again. I affix my clown nose and decide this is a job for another day. I arbitrarily declare this day a “summer Friday” for myself and close my email.
3PM. It’s time for some physical activity. Lindsey and I have gotten super into pickleball lately because we’re secretly eighty years old. (A few weeks ago we were playing on a court next to some literal eighty-year-old men playing tennis, and one of them remarked that he’d like to get into pickleball once he was older.)
5:00PM. Sweaty and tired after some high-intensity athleticism, I take a shower and cook up some quick pasta before rehearsal—it’s farfalle with a vegetarian pseudo-puttanesca sauce, chickpeas for protein, roasted broccolini, and a generous helping of parm on top. (Again, I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo.)
6:15PM. I decide there’s enough time to watch an episode of Survivor before leaving for the rehearsal spot.
7:08PM. Time to leave for rehearsal! Lindsey and I are definitely going to be late. It’s fine. We’ll get to North Hollywood when the LA traffic gods want us to get to North Hollywood. The sun shines directly in our eyes as we make our way along the Hollywood Freeway.
7:37PM. We arrive in North Hollywood at long last. Rehearsal time! Let’s say there’s not a photo of this because my bandmates and I are fiercely private and not because I forgot to take one again. It is a blast because Lindsey, Victoria, and Tamara are true pals. We laugh a lot about nonsense and also get some nice music-making done.
11:01PM. We pull the car back into the driveway. Time to lug everything back up the stairs and put it all back into place. Time for one more episode of Survivor to wind down, a couple little non-dairy ice cream cones from Trader Joe’s, and the sweet release of sleep. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, room. Goodnight, impending sense of doom.
Erin Anne’s new album ‘Do Your Worst’ is out now via Carpark Records: