Two years ago the entire world shut down and artists made a productivity pact. It was an interesting time where creatives suddenly were undistracted by their daily work and were seemingly given a gift of uninterrupted time to dig into their creative pursuits.
I was among this group of artists with high hopes. I had plans to write meaningful songs, record albums, and finally launch a gainful career in the music industry. And yet, despite my plans to do so, it seemed almost as if the muse had gone mute. I had lost my words and my ability to write anything other than trite rhymes about surface level struggles. It seemed awfully cruel that my ability to write dissipated at the same time I gained the time I so desperately yearned for.
This phenomenon was not exclusive to my experience of the pandemic either. In my conversations with other like-minded artists I noticed that they often shared similar stories about creative drought; they conveyed almost a sense of, “the lost years,” in reference to the pandemic. It’s deeply puzzling. How could such an ambitious group of imaginative individuals return null after two years?
Honestly, this is a question I’ve been marinating in for quite some time (perhaps even two years!). I’m just slowly starting to form coherent thoughts about it now. My hypothesis is that, as creatives, we need time to process and we need people to process with. I think there was a reason why much of early pandemic art was, to use strong words, vapid and purely observational. Makers created pressure on themselves to design relevant pieces of art before they had time to process for themselves or in a community.
Now, I’m obviously generalizing as I know that there have been some amazing works of art that have sprung from the depths of quarantine. I do think, however, that on the tail end of the pandemic, we are just now starting to see more reflective work coming from the creatives of the world. I would not be surprised if some of the best art of this decade is crafted over the next few years, in the wake of an illness that isolated ever single one of us. I, for one, believe that I am seeing an end to my creative drought and I am so excited to get back to making meaningful art.