Plague and Locusts 2020: Katherine Sweetman
Weird, Katherine Sweetman. 2020.
I’m pretty horrified that so many people I know are so cavalier about the pandemic. Even liberal, educated, smart people are out doing things that I feel are irresponsible… My cat, for example, seems completely oblivious to the pandemic. She wants to be out socializing so badly that she sometimes just sits at the window and meows. She doesn’t listen to our warnings AT ALL, and she’s already given birth to one litter of kittens during this pandemic (before we adopted her). She’s trying to populate all of mid-town Los Angeles with little tiger-striped, pandemic-cats.
At first, I was in a constant state of panic. Everything was surreal. I lost my longest-running job, my 70+ year-old parents were doing crazy things like traveling, the news was horrifying, this “President” was insane. I had to take lots of baths and cover myself with weighted blankets and cry. Yay 2020!
At this point, the insanity has somehow normalized. I have some new and interesting paid jobs — directing remotely via iPhones and teaching. I certainly like sleeping in and hanging with FuzzMerelda — when she will let me. It’s been a bizarre and terrifying but welcomed break from my previous life.
I’d like to think I have my concentration back… wait is there a new series on Netflix? What time is it? Should order some stuff on Amazon? Did Trump seriously do that? Time to go on a walk? Where’s the cat? I’d say the tempo is all over the map. Mostly it’s therapeutic. I, now, more than ever really enjoy working hard for concentrated periods of time. 12+ hours a day on projects for about a week at a time is something I really enjoy — for some reason. Obsession followed by boredom. When I am between projects, I feel a bit more lost than pre-pandemic times. We have selected the uncertain path for sure, right? But the “choice” wasn’t that hard. Art is a way of life that’s hard to overcome.
I took a monotonous, 9-6 gig at an office for about 6 weeks in Dec/Jan. I hated every single second of every single day. I came home too tired to work on anything. I hated the commute. I hated my life. I’d rather work 17 hours a day from home or 17 hours a day on a remote film set than be in an office. I would probably rather work at McDonald’s than an office ever again. Which… is not outside of the realm of possibilities I suppose… My 401K is 404.
I am, of course, terrified that so much government funding for arts is being cut/will continue to be cut. We need artists to make-sense-of/critique the world and to show us parts of humanity that are becoming lost. Beauty, reflection, empathy, contemplation, and community are things that artists help create and things that I miss in this isolation. At the same time, I am hopeful because I know that when we can, we’ll get back out there and buy art, attend events, go to those concerts, and see those films. My hope is that we can pick up where we left off and then DO MORE for artists. We need to DO MORE to support the creatives who have suffered and continue to suffer. I’m trying to support my artist friends at this time, by buying their works and making posts of their products. I wish I could do more. I know one thing for sure and that is that the work being made now, all over the world and in this solitary confinement, it will be extraordinary. People are experiencing all the right kinds of pressure to create works that will change the world, and I can’t wait to see this world changed.
Online events and onilne work are probably here to stay — in some capacity. I hope we as a global community won’t stay stuck in our bubbles too much though. I know I have my around-the-world trip planned – for after that vaccine drops. Hawaii, Japan, China, Russia, Norway, Egypt, New York, I’m coming for you. Even if I have to put it on credit cards, even if still have to be wearing a mask, even if I have FuzzMerelda on my shoulder, I’ll be out there, looking for good art.