Culture and Society

Staying Home Update #4

The beginning of my sheltering in place back in March seems like so long ago. As we now reach the end of June, I harbor as much anxiety and consternation as I have before. Throughout the US as of this posting, the number of positive test results for Covid-19 keeps increasing, as well as the number of deaths. We have initiated what I believe to be a premature re-opening of the country. Where I live in a rural area of the southern state of Tennessee, most people behave as if all is normal again and do not wear masks in public. This mindset is one that I do not share.

I have been sheltering at home as much as possible. As such, I have barely seen any friends and have only visited my family briefly on a couple of occasions using masks and distancing measures. Thankfully, I love my home, and there has been no shortage of activities to fill up my time.

The lion’s share of my days have been taken up by filming. As I noted in my previous post, I have set a goal of creating 100 short films and releasing them consecutively each week every Friday. This has been an exhausting and daunting task, but its benefits have far outweighed its pitfalls. For starters, I have learned so much more about the workflow between the production and editing processes—including effective filming techniques and valuable shortcuts. From a creative standpoint, I have also become more willing to take risks and put myself out there in ways I never would have imagined for myself even a couple of years ago.

One case in point is the song (and its music video) that I released last Friday called “Cat Daddy”. On display is a goofy and fun-loving side of myself that I have largely hidden from the world. Thankfully, the sky did not fall, and the world did not end (present global circumstances notwithstanding). The creativity demanded by this filmmaking has encouraged me to be less risk-averse. This broadened template will inform all of my other projects moving forward.

Incidentally, if you have not seen “Cat Daddy” yet, here it is in all of its feline magnificence:

Outside of filming, I have, predictably, been reading a lot of books. This year, in fact, I have already far outpaced my usual quota of books by the midyear. As of this morning, I have read 22 books. In a typical year, I would have read close to six by the same point in time. This amounts to almost four times the quantity that I have read in the past. Obviously, 2020 has not been a normal year by any stretch of a reasonable imagination. Sheltering at home has certainly been conducive, but to be honest, I set a goal to read least 40 books by the end of the year back in January. This has all occurred by design.

Additionally, it is important to share what it is that I am not doing. I have resisted all temptations to watch Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime despite having easy access and subscriptions to all three. Even though this is antithetical to my vocation as a filmmaker, I would rather be a creator than a consumer at this point. The latter is far too passive an existence for me. Of course, I will watch something occasionally, but I do so after thoroughly vetting the choice I have made and imposing limits on the time I devote to it.

Both of my dominant pursuits—filming and reading books—allow me to engage and inspire my imagination in ways that are active, thoughtful, and meaningful. The problem-solving that is inherent in filmmaking and the deliberate reflection that accompanies reading a good book enrich every aspect of my creative life.

Lastly, I play music and sing every. day. These days, I switch between playing the ukulele and the piano. In both disciplines, I sing a lot. This gives me immense satisfaction and feeds my creativity in ways that I cannot even begin to explain.

With this pandemic encroaching upon every facet of modern society, I shelter in my home and take life one day at a time. I stay fearful of contracting the virus myself and spreading it. I am also angered by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, and I wish this virus did not exist to temper the protests in their honor.

I live each moment deliberately and hopefully. I care for myself and create my art. That is all I know to do at the moment. Despite my looming apprehensions about the world at large, this will have to be enough.

Here are a couple of my previous posts to read:

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