Sometimes it feels like weeks, sometimes it feels like days.
I feel like I had an advantage going into this, having worked from home for the last 18 months. With the exceptions of missing out on my weekly trivia night, having fewer golf courses to choose from and the inability to eat at a restaurant, not much has changed.
That doesn’t necessarily go for the others in the house, but, so far, we all seem to be putting up with each other.
We have, unfortunately, begun to see the negative effects of the prolonged closures as two restaurants we like — one a great public space and the other one of my significant’s favorites — have closed for good.
That surly won’t be the last of them, and I worry about the future of many places we enjoy.
We are doing our best to do our part. At least once a week we get takeout from one of our local businesses that are doing curbside service. It isn’t the same as having someone bring it straight from the oven to your table, of course. We’re rural, so we often have to travel a bit to get home and that has the expected effect on the best of food, but it is so very important help to our communities and our neighbors and support local business. I’d encourage you to do the same if you have the means.
One community I worry about a lot are our artists. Many of my friends are musicians, and many of them have seen their gigs dry up through mid-summer at the least. I’ve been trying my best to help there, too, whether it be buying an album, a book or a piece of art.
One thing I have immensely enjoyed watching some of my favorite musicians create with their peers via video conferencing and the like, and other friends have brought their creativity to the social media table in other ways. While having more time on our hands can be financially stressful, the wave of artistry is heartening, and proves the value of art — to help us forget for a little while and enjoy something beautiful.
I’m not immune. In the early days, my work kept me busy, but as the financial noose tightened around all of us, some of my smaller contracts evaporated. I, too, have been filling my time with creative pursuits. Writing, of course, as well as my music. Because, if you choose to work in one precarious industry (newspapers), it makes sense to diversify into another uncertain field for stability, right?
I finally took it upon myself to learn GarageBand, a powerful little recording studio app that came with my iPad. I’ve worked out about four tunes so far and learned enough of the programs’ nuances that I need to go back to the first recording and rework it to add some of the effect I was going for. And, also, to be annoyed at the things it can't do easily, but I'm thinking the practice will help me make the leap into similar programs.
Most important, however, I am making music. I think it is paramount for all of us to branch out and engage our creative side now. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for binge-watching TV or video games, but I think it is important for our mental health to feel the reward and accomplishment of creating something.
What you create does not need to impress someone else to have value. That comes from within. The creations I have put together so far are not something I’d brag about to professionals, But, then, I’m not doing it for them, I'm doing it for me. Besides, like anything, we learn by doing. With practice, we get better.
As I write this, plans are advancing to try to resume some form of normalcy. We will emerge from this a fundamentally changed society. These have been trying times for all of us, but I’m hopeful one of the positives we can take away is an appreciation of our creativity, and that of others.