During the COVID-19 quarantine in 2020, I had plenty of free time for projects that had long been shelved due to lack of time.
This website was one of them. And yet after building it, I was not yet ready for the commitment of publishing regular content. Instead I was quickly consumed by other projects.
I spent the first four months of the year writing two articles—one ambitious retrospective article about my personal and professional life during the 2010s, including my relationship with the arts; and one career-spanning interview in celebration of the 80th birthday of an avant-garde musician who I’ve long admired, Keith Rowe.
After completing the second article of the year, I was burned out. I had approached both projects with great reservation. Due to working so intensely with the written word for five years, I had finally reached my personal limits—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Yet I pushed forward, as I tend to do, out of stubborn determination to strike off another project from my endless to-do list.
So, I figured, enough of serious, long-form writing. Why not switch up the medium for a change of pace.
I first spent six weeks editing a video for my friend’s bachelor party. It took me two years after my friend’s wedding to muster up the time for this project. I’m a man of my word, perhaps to a fault.
On a roll, I then taught myself the fundamentals of the motion graphics application Motion. I spent several weeks crawling through an online forum for technical support, fussing over this recreational project about a self-help workshop that I founded and still facilitate with some friends.
Unfortunately—surprise, surprise—my change of medium was not enough to sidestep or soften my excruciating work ethic. At this point in the year, I desperately needed an outlet that was less tedious and analytical. It was time for some simple fun: no laboring over unpaid words; no fussing over new software.
After taking a six-year break from music making to focus on writing, I felt compelled to buy a classical guitar, eager to start fingerpicking again. The audio sketches I made over summer give me some hope that there will be a new guitar-based album…eventually.
Meanwhile, feeling restless after a prolonged quarantine and burned out from my tireless to-do list, I decided on a whim to take a trip before the school year began. In early spring, with minimal planning, I headed to Barcelona with a friend for several days, then I left on my own to hike a northern route on the Camino de Santiago, a historical network of pilgrims’ routes that lead to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in Northwestern Spain, for two weeks. The 12-day hike through northern Spain was a rejuvenating experience, creating space in my life to appreciate the solace of nature and joy of new friendships. The trip remains memorable enough that I plan on blogging about it soon.