Art In Uncertain Times

While we always seem to live in uncertain times, today, with the Corona virus sweeping around the world, things are even more uncertain.

The end of the world as we know it.

Businesses are closed. Events are canceled. People are being asked to stay home and avoid contact with others. If you are a performing artist, this is especially difficult, as you are not able to go out into the world and present your art. Not being able to perform means not making any money. And that make an already difficult situation even more so for most of us. Many artists are barely able to keep ahead of the bills as is. 

And in the grand scheme of things, we, the ordinary people, 
appear to have little control over what is happening. 

But we have control of our art. In dire times, artists continued to create. Artists also continued to tell the truth. When all around you seems to be crashing down, you still have your art, so continue to create because at times like these we need the arts. We need our humanity. But I know it's not easy. 

This is very different. I think many of us are in shock, experiencing real time trauma at the enormity of what is happening. For many of us artists, everything has come to a complete and unexpected halt. Nothing has prepared us for dealing with this.

True Confession

I played my last gig on Sunday, March 15th. In the 2 weeks since then, everything in the foreseeable future has been canceled, and I have done very little since. After my gig, I left my gear in the van overnight. Then I brought it in and stacked it all in the living room. It sat there for a week, until I moved it all into my office, where it sits today, taking up a good portion of the space. It has yet to make it into my studio to be set up and played. 

I just haven't felt like making music. I've felt guilty. Others were out there creating, with many people performing live on Facebook or YouTube. Even my wife has asked me, “Why don't you do something on the internet?” My response has been, “I have nothing to say.”

What can I say in a time like this?

At first I was angry at myself, “Get up and do something. Create!” But as time went on, I became kinder to myself. Maybe I just need some time off. I've been working steadily, driving all around (mostly by myself, sometimes with my wife), playing music and pushing myself, with very little time off for 2 years. I've enjoyed it, but I'm not a kid anymore, so this pace has worn me down. We had planned to take a well deserved vacation the first 2 weeks of April—of course all of that was canceled. So maybe I just moved things up a few weeks.

I haven't been idle though. I've taken the time to read a lot of books, watch a lot of performance and instructional videos, and just let my mind sort of wander (and wonder) about things. I've also been writing a lot, like this blog.

My wife and I have taken a walk almost everyday. We've enjoyed the fresh air and watching Spring start to unfold in our neighborhood. We've also enjoyed the birds and animals along our walks. They remind us that life goes on, no matter what is happening around us. 

These are Extraordinary Times

I'm sure there are others out there who feel like I do. Maybe even you. Maybe you just haven't felt like doing anything. And that's okay. Be easy on yourself. When the time is right, you'll pick up your art. And maybe by then you'll have a lot to say, especially something fresh and new. 

I'll be back soon, with something to say…

~ MB


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