May I Be Excused?

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To whom this may concern,

Please excuse me from my usual tasks as a music creator for a while.  I can’t help but feel that this latest global crisis, the coronavirus, is thwarting my Creative Brilliance. 🙂 Sorry Smiley

What’s that you say? You say I should be writing up a storm, given the lack of distractions? That I have all the time in the world? That I have no excuses now for my lack of motivation?

But that’s just it! Days seem to drag on forever.  The TV talking heads drone in the background, the numbers escalate, and I seem to have become nearly numb to the daily reports of human misery on a colossal scale. I long for reassurances from our leaders with phrases like, “The buck stops here!” and “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!” and “Courage is not having the strength to go on, but going on when you don’t have the strength.”  But all I get (from one particular leader, anyway) is stuff like, “I take no responsibility at all!” and claims that what we are witnessing before our very eyes is a hoax or a conspiracy. Or maybe, somehow, that everything is hunky-dory! That there are plenty of supplies for all our health care workers and first responders. That we will pull out of this predicament within a couple of weeks.  (Even though we can’t escape the images of doctors and nurses swathed in Hefty bags and bandanas. Of seasoned health care workers weeping. Or the image of a long refrigerator truck parked outside a hospital in Queens.)

So, I admit it:  I am having a hard time putting one foot in front of the other.  Some of us are a little anxious, a little blue, and we can’t shake this feeling of being at loose ends. The world has gone topsy-turvy.  I sit at my keyboard and stare at the monitor. I feel creatively constipated. And the harder I try – Well, you know how that goes!

So, at least for right now, while I am disinfecting everything I own, wearing gloves when I dare to go out in public, (although, as I write, I am too damn old to even go to the market while all this is happening); while I am unable to comingle with our friends and neighbors – even family – except at a distance – Now, while we are all grieving the loss of many, and dreading what may come next, I am giving myself permission to feel what I feel, write if I want to – and walk away from my workstation if I need to.

So, please excuse me.  The exact date is TBD, but I will return to my musical chores as soon as I can.  Meanwhile, saying a heartfelt prayer for those who are suffering and those who are grieving.

I had a teacher in grade school, Miss Maloney, who taught us that in Ireland, the best potatoes came from the rockiest soil.  Well, this is rocky soil, indeed. Perhaps I will be harvesting my richest crop yet of delicious musical “potatoes” come fall. . .  or maybe I myself will be a wiser, stronger, more compassionate “potato” when this is all over.  That is my hope.

Take care, and stay safe and healthy  — With love, Robin

14 Replies to “May I Be Excused?”

  1. I made a personal commitment to myself early on in this mess to work hard, work efficient and work LONG hours during this time — and I’m making huge headway on mixes that have been waiting almost a year now. I’ve already placed several long albums (20-30 tracks per album), and hope to be done mixing by mid-June. When struck by the fierceness of this disease, I’ll take a walk around the trail on our property and pray. That always gets me centered. When I finish up these albums, I think I’m going to head off to other more financially productive enterprises. Production Music is getting too hard and the industry too soft for me to continue to put my main focus on it. Twill be sad in a way, but there are other new and exciting ventures to be involved in. I’ll never quit writing – maybe I’ll just not depend on it 100% anymore for covering all my financial needs..

    1. Hi L.A. Writer,
      Thanks for your comment. Incredible that you have managed to maintain that level of productiveness!

      May you and yours stay safe and healthy,

  2. Although I understand and can sympathize, personally i am thriving creatively and could not get through a day without my music and my art. I deleted my news apps, do not watch the news ( only my favorite shows!) and I am doing all the right preventative measures. Like a storm this too shall pass.
    I’m an introvert by nature so this is not a huge change for me. Stay safe

    1. Hi Halfyard —
      I am really glad for you that you are “thriving creatively”! I think everyone reacts differently, but I think (as with so many things) – one size does not fit all. Most importantly, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. And yes – One day this will be history.

  3. If you don’t quite feel normal because things aren’t quite normal, that’s quite normal.You are exactly where it’s ok to be. We process things differently. Be ok with you.
    This too shall pass. 🙂

  4. Please allow me to offer my view on this.

    As I write this I am a Director in a Hospital in NJ…… not the kind of job to have right now if you want an easy time getting through this.

    This is the first weekend I have not worked.

    During that time, I got contacted by a new library…. I had a choice…Say no, and fold to this virus, OR Say Yes and become creative under fire……

    Yesterday, my tracks were accepted!

    You need to trust that your creativity and ability will be there when you need it, no matter the circumstances.

    As someone at the heart of this mess:

    1) Wash your hands
    2) Stay away from people
    3) Wear a mask if you can.
    4) Rest
    5) Eat as well as you can.
    6) WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!!!!

    We will get through this…….. set a goal of writing something and Get It Done!

    1. Thank you, Abellboy for sharing your experience, and may I say, “Congratulations” on getting your tracks accepted! Good for you!

      May I also say — Thank you for the work you are doing there in New Jersey. I know it can not be easy! We have seen images on the news of medical personnel openly weeping on camera because they are so tired and frustrated with the situation. We all owe you and your colleagues a great debt of gratitude in these trying times. (I left my home yesterday for the first time in weeks so that I could take some supplies we had to our local hospital, bring them some packaged cookies, and thank them for all they do. Of course, I wore a mask and gloves.)

      Since I wrote that post, I have been taking yoga lessons on line, and it is helping me to feel a bit more like myself. We will get there! And I second your good practical advice!

  5. Thank you Robin for being open about how you are feeling. I felt embarrassed somehow that I too am feeling no creativity right now. I am in my studio every day and have to literally force myself to turn on the DAW. I have been sifting through my ‘work in progress’ folder, open a track and might just tweak a few things but am finding it hard to make any real progress on anything.
    Same feeling with guitar practice, a feeling of falling out of love with it. I know I won’t always feel like this but all the social media posts about using the time as an opportunity to build my catalogue makes it feel worse, like I’m being left behind and wasting a golden opportunity.
    What I have been enjoying is the springtime sunshine and spending family time (in lockdown) with no reason to go anywhere, feels like every day is Sunday!
    For me it may feed into some creative stimulus but I am not there yet.
    Thanks all, JD

    1. Hi JD,
      I am also enjoying spending time at home, “nesting”, catching up via email with friends, and just – for once – not feeling as if I have to Achieve! Sometimes I think it is good to feel more like a “human being” than a “human doing”. (And no, I didn’t come up with that myself – but I have heard many yoga teachers express that thought.) I do believe that our muses will return at some point – but in any case, for now, I feel lucky to be alive, to be relatively healthy, to have family, and to be (mostly) in my right mind! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

  6. Thanks for your comment, Tbone — It’s good to know I’m not the only one! 🙂
    Best wishes for continued health!

  7. Thanks for this post Robin. We agree and also have that sort of listless feeling here too. We hope that everyone is safe and well. The more of us take it seriously, the better the outcome for everyone.

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