Welp. I was wrong.
Like so many others, I was swept up in blind, desperate optimism while blurring out the facts. COVID-19 is here, and its influence is vast. Take your pick of the likes of past pandemics and epidemics, and MERS, SARS, Ebola, and more are still deadlier than COVID-19, but deadliness should have never been the only quantifying factor in any of our minds. The key behind why we’re all cooped up in our homes at the time being seems to be more with the efficacy of transference than anything.
America, to a degree that is distinctly unlike any other free country in the world, has a tendency to politicize science. Or, at least we’re ignorant towards it. Science. Scientists, who are one of the few bodies of people who operate purely on the pursuit of facts to figure out how everything works, are constantly put under the microscope. Scrutiny is welcomed, to be sure—there may be room for critique—but the vitriol with which we sic ourselves on leading scientific names on behalf of our venerable leaders is second-to-none. Then again, attacks on climate change and attempts to discredit its human impact have long since been a fixture in our society. Similar attempts to potentially infect ourselves in the name of liberty should’ve henceforth been perceived well ahead of time—it just doesn’t make it any less sad.
Whether you like your political parties led by idiots or fabulists, by liars or hucksters, one thing is for sure—if you’re smart and care about more than just yourself, you’ll be social distancing as much as possible. I understand that isolation sucks, but flattening the curve is a real concern. Chances are that this won’t be the last we’ll see of this virus, and we need to be more prepared today to be ready for tomorrow.
Shucking the political for the personal, the death of John Prine impressed upon me more than I thought it would. Admittedly, I didn’t know his songwriting as well as I should have until I became enveloped in the Tucson folk scene and got to see firsthand how much of an influence he’s had on local songwriters who I’ve come to respect immensely. I can’t say it better than the rest of you already have, but he was a tremendous artist and tremendously humble. He’s contributed bountifully to the soundtrack of our lives whether we’ve known it or not.
We also lost one of our own at PopMatters recently.
Whew. Tossing the soapbox aside, there’s still so much good in the bad to be had. John Krasinski’s Some Good News sets things into perspective and I’m so glad that he had the forethought and the graciousness to will this thing into existence. Many creative types are getting out there, sharing livestream events and getting lost in their work with heartening aplomb. I’m enjoying a concert a day—still!—even in light of the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the bevy of artists who are still playing despite it all.
My “secret” has been keeping some semblance of a routine. I’m laid off from my day job for the time being and much of the freelance well has run dry, but I’m still writing. This column is still going to have a wealth of articles posted at the end of it with fresh thoughts on new music for you to enjoy. I’m also waking up earlier, working out every weekday, meditating for the sake of decompression, eating better, reading more, and taking what steps that I feel I need to take in order to keep healthy and grounded. A new friend, Emily Keener, shared her “5 top tips on connecting with your creativity” that I suggest every stubborn artist and anyone that leads with their heart should check out.
On that “reading more” note, I swear that I’ve been collecting books since 2010 with no intent to actually finish them until now, a decade or more on. My favorite read of the year so far has been Ben Folds’ inspiriting autobiography, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, but The Edge Chronicles have been no slouch, either. I’ve been enjoying this fantastical steampunk series for many, many years now—probably since fourth or fifth grade. Having just finished the tenth in the series, The Immortals, I feel more invigorated than I have in a long time to pursue fiction writing myself again. It’s how I was brought into the world of “professional writing” and I’m so very excited to say that I’m getting back into it. I’m looking into ways to sensibly publish a work of fiction in the 2020s while simultaneously getting this book off of the ground. When I have more info to share, I’ll share it steadfastly!
Otherwise, games are fun. This is the first time in a while that I’ve had space to play video games and not just talk about them with Lister on Super Cast Bros. for an hour or two at a time every couple weeks. Right now, Wandersong has been thrilling me on the indie front with its positively charming presentation that feels like some bizarre, optimistic, pacifist millennial odyssey. Otherwise, Animal Crossing has been taking up my life as well as it has yours. Speaking of Super Cast Bros., Lister and I recently had an episode where we took on retooling Toon Link’s moveset into something unique. Wind Waker and Minish Cap were huge parts of my childhood, and I was really happy to make this one happen with him.
How have you been staying afloat amidst the quarantine life? I’m looking forward to chatting with you again next week. ‘Til then, be well!
Oh, and here’s a little Spotify playlist of some 2020 songs that I’ve been listening to amidst it all.
Super Cast Bros.
For Folk’s Sake