A Harpy in the time of Corona

Below is my calendar for May. See an ocean of blank. Not the picture a few months ago when the calendar was full of wedding gigs and travel. My calendar has NEVER been this blank—and I’m a low-key homebody! My calendar is always busier than my husband would prefer but pretty quiet by many people’s standards. But since I already work at home, and we live outside a major metro area, my life hasn’t changed as much as it has for many people.

In March several important gigs were cancelled so I took the opportunity for some guiltless time in my art studio and made things to mail to family members. In April I generally spend most of the month doing 10-hour days in front of my computer working on the Folk Harp Journal. So life was almost completely normal for me except that several weddings were postponed or cancelled. Now May will be different. Normally, by early March I would have added several new weddings for the summer. That certainly didn’t happen. A nice trip we had planned for May has been cancelled and we obviously don’t know yet when we can re-schedule. The biggest disappointment is that our late July-August trip to Wales for the World Harp Congress has been postponed until 2021. I’ve been waiting 18 years to go to that conference! The conference is every three years in locations around the world and ever since I started playing the harp, I’ve sworn I’ll attend. I promise myself, next year.

My husband has the good fortune to be on his first sabbatical EVER after teaching at the university for 40 years. He was actually still going up to his office most days but stopped when campus shut down mid-March. Therefore he luckily didn’t have to pivot his classes to online teaching but is starting to wonder about the status for fall classes. But we never have, and never will, get tired of being together so his being home isn’t a problem.

I am incredibly blessed. I get to devote my life to art, music, and books, and I never take that gift for granted. Although my income is normally about 50/50 between the Folk Harp Journal and harp gigs, because of my husband, we have a stable income. And, as I like to say, as long as the mortgage is paid and the kids aren’t starving, we’re good. Luckily, our “kids” are both lovely, functional, happy adults and we don’t have to worry about them… much. Of course, we still worry. Within my family circle, we have nurses, teachers, a news producer, a corporate event planner, several in the high-risk category, a mother-in-law that fell and broke her hip the day the world shut down, some personal health problems, someone who had the virus before we even knew there was a virus, and other fears. Each has had their issues and trials, but, overall, we know we will weather the storm.

Today, I sent the Summer issue of the Folk Harp Journal to the printer. Last I heard they were running on schedule and I hope this is still true. On Thursday, I’m thrilled to be taking part in a virtual event of “40 Women Artists of Arkansas.” I made as many new books and gifts for the sale as I could sneak in around my FHJ work. Not sure how sale this will work but fingers crossed. I have a very cool (hopefully) book planned for my monthly #areyoubookenough challenge using the headlight from my Grandfather’s 1920s Model T.

And now, on to May, and the blank page. There has been a lot of talk and little action lately on my long rumored new CD, Beneath the Starry Moonlight. I plan to work on that this month and maybe livestream a driveway concert (stay tuned for alerts!). If I can figure out how to do that… I’m sure there will be more time in my art studio and I’ll tackle a few household projects.

Most musicians look back on their earliest CDs and cringe. Musicians hope and want to move forward and always improve so looking back can be painful and I thought about this as I released my first CD. But I do cringe now, some, even though I swore I wouldn’t. Also, at the time, I needed the CD to serve too many purposes at once. And I think I can safely say I’ve progressed and evolved quite a bit as a harpist since the CD was released. Someone received this CD this past week and sent me the kindest note about how moved they were by the music. As I thought about it, I realized that usually in May I’m complaining (mostly good naturedly) about all the pop music that I have to learn for weddings, staying up-to-date with trends, and requests. Now I can put that off until mid-June… hopefully. But truly, if I’m going to sit down and play for myself, going back to those early songs is like comfort food. And that is nice. So, I’ll learn a few new pop songs, and work on my favorite love songs for the new CD, but I’ll probably spend some time with those wonderful tunes from the old CD. Because we all need some comfort right about now, don’t we.

Ok. We are now under a tornado watch. Really, that’s too much. So I need to post this but I think it is also beer-thirty. Corona, anyone?