1. Our lives as we know them will very likely not go back to the way they were for quite a long while.
We don't yet know enough about how the virus works to develop a vaccine, and the shutdown measures need to stay in place longer than many people are ready to accept right now.
2. I'm convinced that many aspects of what we knew as "normal" life won't return at all. Live music performances for groups, by groups, won't return, I believe, for at least a couple of years at the earliest. The risks of gathering people in large groups to sing, play and be an audience are simply too high.
The same for worship services. High Holy Days at your shul is likely going online this year, and in some cases may not happen at all if the shul doesn't have the electronic resources to put it all online. Plus, while we have the attention span to handle being in services all day long on Yom Kippur, that's not going to happen on Zoom.
3. I have been unable to make myself play guitar and sing very much since this all began.
I have experienced what can only be described as bad timing.
I released an album in February. I went home and had two gigs before everything shut down in early March. Any people I had networked with at Biennial were now being compelled to turn inwards, to care for their communities and to put all visiting artists and educators on indefinite hold.
Local venues in Portland that were set to welcome me also had to close indefinitely, and there is no clear sense of when -- or, in some cases, if -- they will reopen.
The timing of all of this really did a number on any momentum I had hoped to build around my new album.
And while I have a short list of names and addresses of people and synagogue communities I'd hoped to contact about future visits, cross-country travel is now on hold for at least a couple of years for me -- if it will resume again at all.
I'm going to be very honest here, with all of you who have followed my musical adventures over the last twenty years.
Hustling for gigs was never easy for me.
I live too far from most Jewish centers of activity, and had to work with limited resources and almost no local support. And to be brutally honest, I'm better at creating than I am at marketing. I've always had a troubled relationship with retail; and I'm sure that's reflected in my approach to self-marketing at least a little.
So anytime a community wanted to bring me out for a visit, I always felt humbled and sometimes even a little surprised. Not growing up in the Jewish bubble, and with almost no help from the community that has been my spiritual home (on paper, at least) for the last 17 years, well, it took me a long time to build a professional Jewish network.
I am amazed at what I have accomplished under the circumstances. I marvel at how far I've gone on this adventure; blessed by all the places I've visited and the wonderful people I've met along the way.
Some of you have become my friends, and for that I'm grateful beyond measure.
Hustling for paid gigs has been really hard.
But now, hustling for what amounts to exposure and not much more feels utterly draining.
I do not know what the future holds.
But I know that right now, nearly all of the details are out of my hands.
While we are staying home and staying safe, the mental, emotional and physical energy required to pull myself together to chase down opportunities to perform without pay is simply too much.
Right now, I am working on bikes at home. The twenty-plus years I spent in the bicycle industry has left me with tools and the knowledge I need to take in repairs and tune-up appointments and bring some money in to help pay the bills. It's not a long-term solution, but it's where the money is for now, and that's where my energy needs to be focused much of the time.
I do not know what my professional life will look like for the rest of this year.
That said, I'm not announcing my retirement.
I have not retired from making music.
I will always be a musician, and I am grateful for everything that has gone with that in my life.
But I am being realistic. And the reality is that right now, making music for a living is just not happening so much for me.
Everything must change -- is already changing -- in this world.
I don't know where we will end up, or if I will live long enough to know when we've arrived at the "new normal" -- it could take many years of ups and downs and restarts for everything to shake out.
But I do know that the world which existed before early March does not exist now.
So I am adapting. We all have to adapt.
I will still make music. I'm still musician, and I always will be.
That's about all I can promise you right now.
Thanks for coming along on the ride with me.
Maybe there's still a little more to go with it. Let's see what happens together.
I'm going to do some stuff on Facebook in the next couple of weeks. So check out my FB Music page for details and please join me if you can.
Meanwhile, if you can stay home, do it. And stay safe and sane too.
Buckets of love and gratitude --Beth