Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.
Scott: Initially, I thought this stretch of time would be good for me creatively. I thought I would be writing songs every day, practicing guitar and singing, posting videos of my progress. But it hasn’t quite gone that way. I have the tendency to focus on the negative, and I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, in the way this country has dealt with this pandemic. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, in the way this country continuously oppresses and murders Black people. Trans people. Black, trans people. I’m disappointed in the way that some people are just now realizing that racism exists and that it’s violent and deadly and that maybe we should do something about it. I want to be able to write about this, but it takes everything in me just to wake up and change into pajamas different from the ones I’m wearing, to eat cereal on the couch and rewatch The Last Airbender.
Not everyday has been like this, but a lot have been.
On days when I can get up from the couch, I feel empowered to cook or bake. I’ve made a few batches of pickles that turned out OK. I taught myself how to make yogurt. Other days, I’ll shave my head. And then let it grow. Some days, I’ll dye it. Blonde. Blue. Then I cut it over again.
I moved out of West Philly at the beginning of June. I’m in Mt. Airy now. I like the trees here. I like to sit outside and feel the breeze that the trees create move through the hair on my arms and legs.
The internet has allowed me to feel like I’m a part of the things my friends are doing as well. I love seeing them work on their internalized biases, read new books, bake bread for the first time, make music videos or learn a new instrument. I feel proud of them. I don’t know how to talk to people, and sometimes it feels hard to reach out and say that, but I’m proud of them.
I’m grateful for some of the Instagram livestreams others have invited me to do. I’m grateful to the family friend who allowed me to teach their son guitar over Zoom. I’m grateful to my kitten, who licks the bottom of my chin when he’s happy to see me. I’m grateful for my family and their health, because I know the pandemic has impacted so many.
Last week, I bought a new computer and downloaded Logic. Learning how to produce my own music has been difficult but also rewarding and exciting, knowing that I can still make something at home or contribute to society in some way. (Thanks, capitalism.) I’ve been thinking about how capitalism ruins everything and how it was a shit thing to base our society on. I’ve been trying to imagine a world without grind culture, without prisons, without cops. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so hard on myself, or I wouldn’t feel the need to be. Until that day comes, I look forward to seeing the new content my friends make, pickling the vegetables I get from the co-op, learning how to use logic.
Maybe I’ll dye my hair again. I’ve been wanting to try pink.