Creating Art in Trying Times

When the pandemic first hit I, like so many others, paused and looked around before determining how to move forward. I saw other artists immediately getting busy on the ground floor with podcasting, home concerts, and the like, but I really didn’t feel like joining in yet. I had a book release forthcoming, and simply adjusting to what was going on took a great deal of energy, not to mention grieving for the life I missed. Gradually I began to notice that I was receiving more and more offers to write, to teach online, to share my book via radio and newspaper interviews, book reviews, and magazines, and to my delight, that trend has continued through and beyond the date of this writing. I have never been busier, in fact, at any other time in my career, and the future is looking bright, thank God.

After these months of rolling with the changes I have learned the importance of limiting my screen time in order to reclaim some time for music-making and writing. Multiple Zoom meetings, virtual conferences, FaceBook Live events, learning new technology, and simply writing at my laptop for hours must be mitigated by an occasional walk outside, a singing practice session, a phone call, or an artistic interlude. Now that so many of our interactions have gone online, my computer time (which I never really enjoyed in the first place) has usurped much of my time to the detriment of more productive artistic activities including practicing the piano and singing, composing my song cycle, writing poetry, and using other means besides the computer to create. Although several formerly out-of-reach opportunities have floated my way over the past six months, I find as I look toward the autumn season an authentic need to unplug again & Every effort to restore my sacred practice time, prayer, and good old-fashioned creativity AWAY from my computer is hereby warmly welcomed and must rise higher on my ladder of daily priorities.

I am grateful for so many things in this season & for living in a relatively quiet neighborhood, for my health and my husband’s, for our new puppy who reminds me to disconnect and just play every so often (and that life must go on during trying times), for my family ties and friendships, and for my volunteer work which involves connecting with people in need and having meaningful conversations. As wonderful as new, exciting opportunities to work online first appear, we are reminded that we must distance ourselves from Cyberland sometimes, to not let it overtake or overwhelm us.

To all my fellow artists, I encourage you to take some time each day to get some fresh air, paint a picture, reach out to help someone, listen to some soothing music, read a worthwhile book, sing a new song & do SOMETHING nurturing for yourself and for someone else every day. As we join our freshly-washed hands (virtually, while observing social distancing) on our onward walk toward the autumn of 2020, we never needed beauty, art, kindness, and a thankful spirit more.


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