Katy Evans-Bush is the author of Me and the Dead (Salt) and Oscar & Henry (Rack Press). She edits the online literary magazine Horizon Review, blogs at Baroque in Hackney, and tutors independently and for the Poetry School. Her new collection, Egg Printing Explained, will be published by Salt in June.
Katy’s website: Baroque in Hackney
• One thing that’s always worth getting out of bed for
What propels me out of bed is usually the thought of something I have to do. The call of the world. Or tea.
• One thing about myself that often obstructs me
Too many to mention: tiredness, procrastination, workaholism, a kind of vagueness, a constitutional need for someone to bounce off, pedantry, perfectionism, and the tendency to keep buying lipsticks in the hope that each one will be THE perfect red.
• One thing I’ve learned the hard way
I’ve learned almost everything the hard way. I was born thinking I could somehow make the world how it was supposed to be, just by thinking about it. All I could think about when I was a kid was Narnia, or traveling back in time, or being magic – not wishful thinking. I sort of thought it was real. I gradually realized that people thought that was weird, and furthermore that the other kids didn’t much care for big words… Learning to manage in the daily world was a big thing for me, but here’s what I learned: character must drive action. That is, the action must be driven by the real character. You have to just go out there and do it. Nobody else has to like it.
Not only does the world not care if you succeed, in fact most people would rather you didn’t. What you love about someone will be what annoys you about them, and vice versa. You can fall into whatever you fall into, or you can just be totally yourself and make it happen; the only alternative to this is a kind of passivity, or even parasitism… It takes almost superhuman strength to avoid it, but there is no choice.
Some things you learn the easy way, or by intuition. One of these things I know is that you really do moisturise from within: drink lots of water, but use a good face cream! Your life will be better.
• One thing that gets under my skin
Dreaming. It’s a nightmare! I dream huge amounts almost every night. I have very complex, visual, movie-like dreams, and sometimes they colour the whole atmosphere for days. They seem as real as things that happen when I’m awake. I had terrible dreams as a child, and I’ve had lots of recurring ones as an adult. I once had a dream that really was like a movie, in that some force in the dream replayed it several times and made me watch it, even backwards, with commentary, so I could see exactly what caused the death of the girl in the stream.
Sometimes they’re great, though. I’ve flown a lot, once on a magic carpet. I’ve met John Ashbery on the pavement, and two or three times I’ve woken up laughing. Once it was the closing music from Looney Tunes.
• One thing I’d love to change
Oh, I’d change almost everything. I’d change all those things in Question 2, for a start, and I’d have a big house. Probably if I could change those things, I would have that big house. Also, you’d be able to absorb books really quickly, through your skin or something – not in a shallow, mechanical, speed-reading way, but in a meaningful way where you’ve absorbed the texture and individual words and have favourite bits you love. It would be a good way to get caught up – you wouldn’t have to do it all the time, just when you were in a hurry.
• One thing I hope for
Maybe a holiday.