Well, I write this at essentially the two month point of this whole "stay at home" order. Life has changed quite a bit, and I'm not sure what to even make of all of this change. As someone who's livelihood is built around live performances, be it my own, a part of the band I'm in or even the events / festivals that I'm involved with helping produce, this has been a really tough pill to swallow.
The numbers of financial loss seem to keep growing, not just for myself, but for many families, businesses and even our overarching monetary safety nets from governmental organizations. If the national debt was at an all time high leading in to this pandemic, its most certainly ballooning even more due to the circumstances.
I will say that I've found both solace and joy from the extra time at home, as much if not more so than my feelings of void from missing gatherings and full band performances. All the time spent around the garden, updating landscaping that I'd been putting off, and diving deeper within my own internal journey as a creative entrepreneur have brought to light a juxtaposition of lifestyles of which I both love. I've invested more time in my own creative endeavors than I have in years, and I'm loving every bit of it.
Since being in quarantine, I've performed several solo live stream shows. Mainly in effort to raise money for a few local fundraising initiatives to help support the local music economy. It's strange asking people virtually to "tip" me, but it doesn't feel near as strange asking for donations for a charitable cause. Funny how under these times, a virtual tip for myself could be considered a charitable cause in itself.
Now that we're two months in, it's becoming harder to continue asking folks to make a donation. The "causes" are stacking up, be it the Charlotte Music Challenge I worked with Brit Drozda on, the recent Charlotte Covid19 Music Relief Fund from Fair Play CLT + Music Everywhere CLT, the Music for Meals programming collab with WCCB supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of the Metrolinas or even the Neighborhood Theatre's own Go Fund Me to keep the venue alive. These are all worthy causes, but our networks are only so big, and what does it say about us to keep tapping these same folks for donations?
If nothing else, it leaves me questioning where we've grown to as a society and culture. Our system is clearly not fail proof, yet history tends to repeat itself even if through a pandemic that's never before been seen. Don't get me wrong, I love our country and all the great things that the current capitalist model has brought us, but isn't it worth considering whether there are ways we can progress forward while implementing new ideas and proposed models to see if perhaps something may work better?
I'm no economist, and clearly I don't have an answer. Really more than anything I'm just finding myself even more confused and uncertain about what ability we have as individuals to make a lasting positive impact. The only thing I do know is that, as Lukas Nelson says, "turning off the news and building a garden" is helping my sanity much more than trying to stay up to date on daily news trends relating to, well most everything. I'll keep writing, creating and playing music in hopes that my efforts may one day leave a lasting impression, and perhaps change someone's life.
I'll leave you with this friends, even in the strangest of places we get shown the light, that is if we look at it right. Hopefully every single one of us can find the light we need to move forward with positivity out of these challenging and unfair times. If you still have the means to donate, please do. If you have an ear to lend, please listen. Mostly, take care of yourselves and those around you. We all need the love and light.