The pandemic and the protests were a perfect storm of isolation, inspiration, outrage, longing, fear, and hope. Living in New York City was a pressure cooker, particularly in April and May, when the deaths were spiking and the city sealed itself off, and utterly changed. But strangely, there was also a sense of transformation just around the curve, a sense of unity and community, and the potential for transcendence. I kept thinking of the model in physics, where things have to fall apart in order to re-assemble themselves in a more refined, evolved state.
My tour was cancelled, and I was off the road, sequestered in my own home, with time, a stack of writing journals, and a recording studio in the basement. There was nothing to do to accommodate the emotional squeeze, and the rumblings of panic, and no way to articulate the division, and the suffering born of racism and the suffering born of Covid, with reason or logic. The only thing to do was write songs.
Well I suppose the title of this song is a rather important affirmation in these times of social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation. I hope you, too, are alive and will remain so for as long as reasonably appropriate.
This is a weird thing to be going through, and there have been times over the past couple of weeks where not even listening to music has worked to calm the fear and loathing that rises from my depths of my guts every time I think about how our orange fuhrer and his Republican enablers have botched the response to this crisis. It’s maddening.
But what can you do? Stay home, laugh at memes, and try to comfort those around you. Try not to take out your anger on the undeserving. Watch “Tiger King” and marvel at the wonders of the universe. We are all just blips in the timeline. This too shall pass.
And in the meantime find some joy in this new song by Ravi Shankar’s daughter, recorded with Jeff and Spencer Tweedy at the Wilco Loft.
Just sit and wait, don’t move
You can hope and pray
You can moan
Maybe things will change.