Critical Masque

Shout out to the hustlers who didn’t stop when the world caught fire, whether it was because they couldn’t stop the hustle or they couldn’t stop the fire.

Many months ago, I put an innocuous notification in my calendar: 10 years ago was my first published article. My start, to some extent, as writer, critic, tumbling down a rabbit hole. Now the day has come and danged if there is anything for me to add or share – I am stuck in pandemic brain mush. We’ve tumbled into a new hole, for some shadowed and rabid creature…not nearly as enticing. It’s not exactly the most advantageous hole for music making or writing.

Originally, I think I was going to do a favorites or some such, but looking back on past concerts seems ill-willed when there are no upcoming concerts and events. I was already intending to cut back on the freelancing a bit this year to focus on some other projects, but I had no intention of cutting, you know, everything.

Now, though, all of my urgency goes to my full-time job (the writing was always a side hustle) and my family — there’s no energy left for the rest of the world.

RoPo Fam 2.jpegAnd yet we strive. I am awed by those who kept at their hustle and innovated, sketching out new creative models. Making music, at home now, with an intimate audience, is music at its purest.

The future is uncertain, of course, but small comforts and close accounting, as well as sleep and hydration, help considerably. Where before I was navigating a complex schedule of concerts and appointments and school pickups, now I am witness every day to my husband’s patience, my daughter’s teeth growing into her ever changing smile, my son’s essence of chaotic neutral.

Speaking of small comforts…serendipitously, my gift to myself arrived: a band of plastic miniature West German white rats playing instruments. Inspired by @tinyartshow, and, God knows, completely bereft, I’m making a tiny venue for this ersatz orchestra, which brought a tiny amount of brightness to my day, and perhaps yours, too. Check back later for the complete version. 😉 FEEC9F87-2D9B-44F0-971A-1D417EF08887


Yes, with deadlines dissolved without concerts to write about (and don’t forget the kids who still need tending/entertaining) we discovered other creative projects. We made a coloring book for our friends and family. We spent three days shaping and painting clay sculptures that serve no purpose other than to work the clay. I messed around with formatting for a forthcoming pocket zine for some of my poems. We planted wildflowers from a mystery packet for the pollinators (supposed to be native plants). We set up studio space in the basement and recorded for a couple of projects. While the hustlers took care of the big flames, we, at least, kept the home fires alive. 

“Everything Is Fine” from the Anxiety Series





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