A few weeks ago I set out to write about being a freelancer for COVEN’s current theme LABOR OR LABOR. I wanted to share a sample of my workday, or maybe some highlights from my workweek, and then analyze them. I ended up writing down everything that I could remember from that week. It was surprisingly exhilarating because I did not expect look back and see so much work as well as so much privilege.

As freelancers, especially as freelance artists, it is important to understand that everything you do, either directly or indirectly, feeds the trajectory of your life and your career. Everything I listed below is work. But living a life where the line between doing things to cover your rent and doing things to inspire you is as transparent as nude pantyhose is a privilege. Having time is a privilege, living in a cheap city like Berlin is a privilege, and both those things allow me to be inspired and to care for myself. Nevertheless, caring for yourself and living creatively are possibly two of the most important things you can do from a political standpoint, I’d argue. So, shit’s confusing.

If you are triggered by this and are a freelancer of some kind please do the same exercise and share your workweek with COVEN. It’s a vulnerable thing to share because it says so much about your financial situation – privileged or not – and we would be honored. We also understand that these workweeks are not a “sample” or a template at all. Rather, they are snapshots of a highly irregular lifestyle that varies greatly from month to month or even week to week. Instability/precarity is the premise of freelancing and we want to see how yours looks RIGHT NOW, regardless of your side job, backup plan, long-term plan, your CV, or whether this is an unusually fruitful or unusually dry moment in your work life.  



Monday 18th Jan 2016

9:30 woke-up, pulled tarot card – 4 of pentacles? Card about worry.

10:30 edited my bio

11:00 researched how to get money to fund a big dance project I want to do in 2016—scrolled through 200 pages of funders listed on

13:00 tried to make sweet potatoes for lunch but ran out of time so had tuna salad instead

14:00 walked with Jassem to get some sunlight and check out ace & tate

14:10 called mom to see if she would buy me some new prescription glasses because the ones from ace & tate are only 98 euros and German health insurance doesn’t cover optical and this could be like the last hurrah in terms of her helping me finance my life

14:30 stressed out about money because mom said no and that I had made certain choices with my life and that if she bought me these glasses it would be like she was infantilizing me

15:30 felt indecisive about some really nice glasses at ace & tate on my way home

16:00 skyped with Nikima and Laura about meeting up either in Morocco or Copenhagen to either hang out in the desert or to work together or both

16:50 saw that this would not be financially possible and ran out of time to catch up with them but enjoyed seeing them anyways

18:30 worked on Step Beyond grant

19:00 made a sweet potato appetizer with leftover lentils, cooked chard, and leftover feta

20:00 dinner party

2:00 bed



Tuesday 19th Jan

9:30 woke-up, pulled tarot card- mother of swords

9:40 talked to Agne, she invited me to give a sermon or blessing at Poodle Bar on Thursday night—I tentatively accepted

11:00 went to Thelma’s place to help her with her writing in English—we are doing a skill trade. Drank cappuccinos with her and played with tapioca flour (a non-Newtonian fluid) (I posted a video of it on instagram)

11:45 looked at some of her raw text and talked about fluff words, clarifying the subject of each sentence, and active vs. passive sentences. Showed her the .pdf of “The Elements of Style” and she loved it J

12:30 talked about the massage I would be receiving on Friday, the alignment of my pelvis, and she showed me some cool exercises to help me move more like a cat and have a dynamic, fluid pelvic floor

13:30 realized my coffee date with Simo was postponed to Thursday or Friday morning

14:00 arrived home hoping to have lunch with my partner who turned out to be napping

14:30 ate leftovers out of the fridge

14:45 worked on the Step Beyond grant

16:00 skyped with Alina about the Step Beyond grant

18:00 ate a small dinner

18:30 went to COVEN meeting and read this weeks horoscope on the way there

19:00 COVEN meeting, some beer

19:20 discussed poetry reading mini series and decided to go for it

20:30 discussed writing the city tax grant for “queeries into collective feminisms” gathering at Ponderosa and decided to write it on Saturday afternoon

21:40 drank tea with Chris and Lucy at veggie Vietnamese place

22:00 worked on step beyond grant at home

00:30 received drunken texts and calls from partner and friends Ruairi and Cathy telling me they would pay for an uber for me to come down to Gneisenauerstr and drink margaritas with them

00:40 wrote in my diary in bed



Wednesday 20th jan

9:30 woke up, pulled tarot- 7 of pentacles?

9:40 skyped with Micheál about this week’s chapter of Rice, Beans, and Glitter: a community cookbook

10:30 headed to climbing gym but accidentally took the long route

11:00 climbed with Andrew, felt really strong and completed a few “reds” (level 4 of 6)

13:00 rushed to pick up Theodora at Kita and bring her to swimming class

13:22 only two minutes late- sweaty but relieved

13:45 arrived at Stadtbad Mitte

14:00 got told off by swim teacher for bringing Theodora too far into the swimming room with my street clothes on and that next time I should wait by the showers for her to come pick her up

14:10 walked to Oslo coffee shop

14:20 ate sandwich at Olso coffee shop

14:30 drank coffee to go from Oslo coffee shop on the way back to Stadtbad Mitte

14:46 found Theodora in the shower without a teacher even though I was only one minute late

15:07 left Stadtbad Mitte

15:35 dropped Theodora at home, received 20 euros

16:00 bought flowers for partner hoping we would hang out but it turns out he needed a nap

16:10 worked on Step Beyond application

18:40 skyped with Alina to work on Step Beyond application

19:25 woke up Jassem and rushed to leave to go see Bling Bling collective’s work in progress “10 attempts at seizing power” in the “public in private” space at Flutgraben e.V, drank a fritz cola left over from the dinner party on the way

20:00 enter Flutgraben

20:10 see “10 attempts at seizing power”

20:55 gave feedback and drank wine while feeling very hungry

22:15 left and went for burgers at White Trash

23:15 finished burgers and had amazing conversation about money and Ponderosa

23:30 Jassem pays for dinner

00:10 bumped into Rodrigo whose piece I had loved at Tanztage on the way to Schlesisches Tor

00:30 took bus home

01:00 arrived home

01:45 bed



Thursday 21st jan

8:00 woke up

8:15 started getting ready to submit the application for Step Beyond

8:30 Jassem brought me croissant and coffee from Nothaft Seidel

10:00 encountered several frustrating problems about the submission process

10:15 called the office of the European Cultural Foundation

10:30 successfully submited the application

10:35 ECF office called me back and was helpful but made me realize that I forgot something important about the travel grants: the ECF, counter intuitively, don’t like to be co-funded and half my travel is already paid for by Switzerland

10:40 pulled tarot- what was it?

10:45-11:45 hung out, did dishes, ran load of laundry, and stretched my body

12:15 had lunch/breakfast made by Jassem

12:45 went to LPG biomarkt for groceries

13:30 put away groceries at home

13:50 headed back to ace & tate with Jassem

14:50 we both ordered new glasses

15:30 wrote emails with people about the city tax grant and wrote emails looking for poets to read at the FALLOW poetry reading mini series

17:30 ate delicious lamb, onions and tomatoes cooked by Jassem with some white wine

18:15 almost started having sex but ran out of time because I need to shower before I perform at k77

18:20 showered, washed hair, conditioned with a hair mask

18:45 walked to k77 for prep for performance and wondered if I should write the sermon there or at a bar nearby

19:00 got there and waited for Agne to open the space

19:20 sat down in the cold basement bar and quickly wrote the sermon in my notebook

20:00 helped set up the place, moved chairs, lit candles, helped Kata with her lemon stick, drank beer

21:00 people started arriving and I started reading the ‘zines that Jess brought

21:30 decided to offer to swap my too-small leather pants for Rachel’s velvet dress

21:45 went to the bathroom with Rachel and did the exchange: both parties seemed happy with their new item of clothing

22:15 talked to Jassem who cannot come because he needs to keep napping

22:30 gave a sermon about this cold, quiet time of year, work, caring for each other, and how things are not going to get any easier. I tell the story of my mom refusing to buy me the glasses

23:30 bartending, drank many beers and ate lots of Agnes banana chocolate cake

00:07 home

2:00 took glowing post-coital selfie in my blue nightgown and send it to my girlfriends from college on instagram direct message



Friday 22nd jan

9:30 woke up before alarm feeling very tired

9:45 made amazing oatmeal with all my seeds from yesterday’s grocery shop

10:15 put on new velvet dress and feel pretty in it

10:30 left for my massage at Thelma’s and read Silvia Federici’s “Caliban and the Witch” on the way there

11:00 arrived at Thelma’s and hung out on the hammock while she bought milk downstairs

11:20 drank cappuccino with Thelma and talked about tons of interesting and inspiring stuff

11:35 learned that Thelma’s husband Nico has a publishing house where they publish queer theory and random art books: we go to their amazing bookshelf

11:45 texted Jassem saying that we really need to have dinner with them

12:00 laid down for my massage

13:15 felt amazing after my massage, talked to Thelma with a cup of herbal tea about bodies, turtles, and cats.

13:45 walked to the climbing gym, got a sandwich on the way

14:30 guy at front desk of climbing gym is ridiculously snarky

14:35 another great day climbing, practiced ‘release technique climbing’ and laughed about it, gave Desha and Milo tips on their first day

15:15 worked on a hard climbing problem with a group of refugees who are having a day at the climbing gym and laughed about how hard it is with them

16:30 laughed at this sexy guy who has his shirt off, wondered if his name is Lucas

17:00 went for a beer with Andrew, Desha, and Milo

17:10 told Desha that no I’m not a poet but that sometimes I write poetry and it’s usually a pretty intuitive process, and I rarely edit any of them, but sometimes I have fun with simple rhyme schemes

17:40 left kneipe and headed to Wedding to do some writing with Zinzi

18:15 arrived in wedding and hear all about the Labor Day Zinzi, Zwoisy, and Federica want to organize with COVEN

19:00 made a plan to write, edit, and then exchange texts

19:15 got the idea to write this schedule down

20:35 finished the workweek sample


Words by Louise Trueheart

Image by Lo Pecado




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