We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories related to the COVID-19 health crisis so future generations can learn how the pandemic has impacted our lives. We invite you to read a sampling of these stories here and to share your story.
I'm a singer/songwriter and mother of two teenagers, living in a relatively small house in St. Paul. The space where I write and create music is the very center of the house—the one room that everyone needs to walk through to get anywhere else on the main floor. My routine is (was) that at least two afternoons a week, while the kids are at school and my spouse is at work, that space is my studio for songwriting and recording.
Now that everyone is home all the time, I've lost my studio (not only the space, but also the time when I could be alone in it).
[Listen to a “Slowly Exploding,” a song written by Julia, recorded with her husband and daughter while staying at home].
I'm adjusting and enjoying having my musician family members more available to play with me, but I don't feel quite like me. I miss playing live shows. There are multiple opportunities to stream performances from my house, which I have and am taking, but they aren't the same (and figuring out the technology to get good audio quality has been stressful).
One wonderful thing that's come out of all this is that I've grown closer to an international songwriting group I'm a part of, called Song A Week (www.songaweek.org). Members of the group write a song each week and share our songs with each other, listening and supporting. I've been a member since 2016, and it was the pandemic that prompted us for the first time to start doing video meetings as a group. A different lineup each month plays two songs each for each other, and we take some time to chat during and afterward. Many of these people I'm likely never to meet in person, and it's been a joy to feel more connected to them during this time.
The other members of my family each have their own feelings and issues - deep sadness that brings tears almost daily for my sixteen-year-old daughter, daily snuggles, and maybe biweekly tears for my thirteen-year-old son, and struggles with depression for my extroverted spouse. At the same time we are drawing closer as a family, picking up new activities (long bike rides, evening walks with the dog, card games, sitting around and just talking . . .), and getting things done like cleaning out the garage and home repair projects and gardening. My daughter loves to sew, and she voluntarily made masks for each person in our family, and then went on to make thirteen more which we just donated at our local fire station this past weekend. I feel like we are very lucky to be doing so well during this time, knowing there is so much suffering on so many levels. This pandemic has forced many of us to slow down, some for the first time in a long time, and face our own mortality.
~ Submitted by musician Julia Bloom