Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 13

Greetings, Internet! Hope everyone’s keeping sane and fighting the power in whichever way you’re most able to do so. I finally went outside after eighty-six days straight of being indoors, so that was a nice twenty-minute change of scenery. Also, I have a flute now! Her name is Fleur. She will make an appearance on my channel at some point in some capacity, even if I have to do a straight up flute piece (I have a book of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sheet music, and I’m not afraid to use it). Daily summaries below!

Day Eighty-Five (6/5/2020)

  • Read an article about hugging. Gosh, I miss hugs.
  • Recorded a song for a friend’s birthday. Not sure yet when I’ll post it to any social media platform, but you bet I’m going to send her a link to the video on her birthday this Sunday (also I guess if anyone else wants to hear a Patti Smith cover, I can send you the link as well).
  • Had a virtual hangout with a friend from HGSE. She has a puppy now! I hadn’t seen her in like, two months, so this was a much needed catch-up.
  • My flutes are here! I’m going to try them out.
  • Did a wine-and-FaceTime with my sister. We’re scheming how to get her doughnuts from a place in my neighborhood. I played a few things on the flutes for her. It’s amazing how many pop/Disney songs I remember from like, ten years ago.
  • Guys, Spotify is putting some country music into my daily mixes and I don’t hate it. What is quarantine doing to me??
  • Currently feeling: Guess who overbooked herself because she overbooks herself when she feels overwhelmed by stressful things? This lady, right here. Tomorrow I have to finish Gregory of Tours, read an article about early medieval medicine, test out three flutes, and do the FES cycle. And at some point I should go outside for ten minutes to get a bit of fresh air because I’ve been in my apartment for eighty-five days straight?
  • Currently looping: Not so much “looping,” but the Foo Fighters posted their 2008 concert at Wembley, and it is epic.


Day Eighty-Six (6/6/2020)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Finished Book Nine of Gregory of Tours and started Book Ten. Almost there!
  • Tested out the flutes I got from the Flute Center of New York (FCNY). How does one test flutes? Well, play something you have experience with playing, preferably something that jumps from low- to mid- to high-registers, that way you can see if notes transition easily without squeaking (a problem that plagued me with my 20-year-old beginner flute). Judging from what the FCNY website recommended about testing flutes, I figured this could take maybe 30, 60 minutes tops. I was in my room alternating between “Hedwig’s Theme” (#huffletuff forever) and some Bach (you know, because I used to play classical music back in the day). But, two hours later, I think I found the one.
  • Read an article on early medieval medicine hoping that it could have some leads for my research. The article itself, not so much, but there were a couple of interesting articles in the bibliography that I will most definitely hunt down.
  • Currently feeling: I sent my friend a cover I did for her birthday (which is tomorrow). The video is unlisted, so you can only access the song if you have the link. At the moment, she is the only other person with the link. Sorry, I’d like to share it, but it still feels tone deaf to do so. Should I just post things on YouTube, and then not post it to social media? I don’t know, I’m still recording and I want to upload things to my channel, but I also don’t want to be insensitive. I’m of the opinion that I can continue to release covers into the world while also staying informed and harassing local representatives. The only problem is that some might think that if I’m not outraged 100% of the time, then I must not care, and then I must be part of the problem. Or maybe that’s an unsubstantiated fear. I don’t know. Internet, help me out here.
  • Currently looping: I was listening to Joshua Bell’s “The Romantic Violin,” which he performed with the NY Philharmonic. I’m in a classical music kind of mood today, okay?


Day Eighty-Seven (6/7/20)

  • I WENT OUTSIDE! I left my building (wearing a mask because duh) and ventured to the nearby park. And then I wheeled around it twice. So, in nineteenth-century English terms, I took two turns about the park. People were good about wearing masks and socially distancing. I got to feel sunshine and breathe air that didn’t come from a vent (although, it was air through a mask, but still!). It was so nice to get a bit of exercise, too. My arms really needed it. Gosh, I can’t believe I went eighty-six straight days without going outside at all.
  • Did a virtual hangout with writing buddy. There was alcohol. I be tipsy now. Lol. But! Writing buddy helped me name my new flute. Her name is Fleur. It’s fitting. I’m such a fan of the name.
  • Currently feeling: So, I’m going to start making my covers live on my YouTube channel, but I won’t post them to social media until people start posting pictures of like, their sourdough (i.e. when people start posting their quarantine hobbies). So if you have any interest in seeing my covers, now would be the time to subscribe, unless you’d rather just click on the links here (which I will definitely post). 
  • Currently looping: “Forth Eorlingas” from the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack (composed by the brilliant Howard Shore). So epic. So hopeful.


Day Eighty-Eight (6/8/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Had a virtual meeting with my advisor, just to update him on the dissertation and let him know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve got more Gregory of Tours to read (this time, hagiography!). My advisor is so delightful. I thanked him for meeting with me and he said, “A meeting of talking about Gregory of Tours and Merovingian hagiography? I cannot think of a more beautiful thing.” He really loves Gregory and the Merovingians.
  • Had a songwriting lesson. The most amazing thing happened last night as I was getting ready for bed. Sometimes a line will pop into my head and I’ll think, “Huh, that’d be a cool song lyric” and sometimes I write it down. This time, a line popped into my head along with a melody! An actual melody! So I sang it to my phone and recorded it. Then I sang it to my songwriting teacher, who was able to tell me the key and chord progression that should accompany that melody. After the songwriting lesson, I WROTE A SONG. A REAL, ORIGINAL SONG. Sure, it’s sappy and silly and everything, but it’s mine. I WROTE A THING! Now, I’ll probably tinker with it for at least a week (i.e. run it by friends whose opinions wouldn’t steer me wrong + my songwriting teacher) before I record and share it. But zomg, I wrote an original song and can play it on guitar!
  • Currently feeling: Um, I’m sorry, did I mention that I WROTE A SONG?! Yes, I know the world is going through utter chaos. I haven’t forgotten about that. I can’t control what happens to the world. I donated to my local food bank because we can’t forget about the ‘Rona. I just submitted an article to Guest of a Guest about black beauty YouTubers that people need to follow. If the article is any good, then it’ll run sometime soon-ish? There are small things I can do to contribute, and I’m doing my best to do them. But also, I can’t forget that quarantine has given me a pause in my life where I can assess things like my career trajectory, and find things that bring me joy. I’ve missed performing music so much.
  • Currently looping: Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” song from “Pitch Perfect.” I might have watched an Anna Kendrick Vogue video where she discussed her career, and I do love “Pitch Perfect” oh so much.


Day Eighty-Nine (6/9/20)

  • Recorded a cover that will get posted next week. I’m super happy with how it turned out.
  • Did a work hangout with my friend. I played the song I wrote yesterday to her, and her response was that it should be in a commercial for Bumble. It’s hilarious how I spend most of my time listening to the likes of Fiona Apple, KT Tunstall, Garbage, Regina Spektor (all legit songwriters), Within Temptation, Evanescence, and hella movie scores; but once I get a crack at writing original material, I get Bumble commercial music. How did this happen?
  • Currently feeling: My friend convinced me that I should continue to post my acoustic covers to social media. People who are actual influencers and all that are returning to business as usual. As far as I know, I’m the only wheelchair user who plays acoustic guitar on YouTube (or at least, the only one who plays the covers I’m playing). I have to keep up the representation! Also, I’m more of a hobbyist than a legit musician, so I shouldn’t feel so badly about posting. I just want to share my quarantine hobby with the world (i.e. my Facebook friends).
  • Currently looping: Taylor Swift’s “Lover” album. Sometimes you just want to hear Tay Tay, okay?


Day Ninety (6/10/20)

  • Did the FES cycle.
  • My mother’s here! Will there be pie? There’s a 90% chance that, yes, there will be.
  • Ordered doughnuts from Dough. How have I gone ninety days into this pandemic with zero doughnuts?
  • Got to see my niece for a surprise visit! She tried cherries today. Couldn’t tell if she liked them because she threw one on the floor, and then shoved another into her mouth (the pits were taken out, obviously).
  • Reading group with one of my professors tonight. I know more about Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism than I did before, so, that’s cool.
  • Currently feeling: Starting to think I should have been recording every time protestors marched down my block, because that’s history right there, and I am technically an historian-in-training. Whoops. My training has taught me to study things that happened over a thousand years ago, and I might have forgotten the most important thing about history: it’s still happening.
  • Currently looping: Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You.” She doesn’t write too many happy songs, but when she does, they’re delightful.


Day Ninety-One (6/11/20)

  • Posted my cover of Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain.” It’s not a Fleetwood Mac cover. It’s just pretty sadness on repeat.
  • Had apple pie for second breakfast. #livingoutmyhobbitdreams
  • Attended a Zoominar on the Justinianic Plague. Moral of the story: Historians (from the sixth century) love to fudge numbers.
  • Therapy! So much homework. But so much usefulness.
  • Concluded my flute trial. If all goes well, Fleur will be making an appearance on my channel in the near future!
  • Organized my “Documents” folder so it’s not a cluttered mess. Gosh, I love how neat and orderly it is now.
  • Currently feeling: I was talking to my mother today about my guitar lessons back during my gap year (2009-2010). She told me I didn’t do that many lessons, definitely less than ten total. I couldn’t sit up straight at the time and it was exhausting for me to try to play with my hands not being at 100%. Well, there’s a part of my life that I completely misremembered. So it turns out that my channel is based on a minimal number of guitar lessons. Egad. And here I was going into it thinking, “I can do this. I’ve taken months of lessons, like, ten years ago.” Turns out it was more like weeks, and weeks of struggle at that. It’s amazing what misremembered confidence will make you think you’re capable of.
  • Currently looping: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Stars.” Can Fleur sub out the guitar solo? We shall see.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe out there!

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