March 31, 2020
I want to use my blog as a spot to speak with you all more personally though. I have always been someone who wears his heart on his sleeve per say. So I am going to use my time to write you letters that I hope will inspire, make you think, give hope, solve problems, and get you creating.
One of my favorite inspirations at the moment is a book called . Robert used to write a wonderful newsletter that was called "The Painters Keys" that he sent out twice weekly for about ten years. The collection of letters that Robert wrote are so amazingly inspirational for any creator that I picked up the book to digest them a little at a time.
That has been one of my latest routines when I wake up -- to make my coffee, which is often an roast pod in my which I love so dearly, and to read at least 3 or 4 of Robert's letters. I try to only read 3 or 4 at a time because every one is so rich and insightful that I want to ponder it through out my day.
A lot of friends have been checking in with me this week to make sure I am ok, which I appreciate. I left New York City three months ago now after several years of living and working in the city to take some time away from the hustle, and to get back out on the road again. The plan was to pack my things, move everything to Detroit to set up home base, rent my place out in NYC while I was gone, and then book a 20 city workshop tour.
Well, I started the booking process, and was in the midst of securing plans to tour as I did last year for a 9 city workshop tour when the virus hit the US.
Everyone calls it the coronavirus, but the technical name is covid-19. I'll keep it real in my letters to you all here too. I don't believe in censorship. This virus is something that I have been trying to stay on top of -- not for myself because if I ever go out, I tell everyone that I will go out with my boots on creating every day (and y'all best throw the biggest party CELEBRATING my life instead of mourning it when all of my photos get released). But I stay on top of things because I worry about my family and friends.
I know a lot of New Yorkers, and at least seven friends that I know of right now are sick with covid-19. One was sick that I did not know about until he passed just a few days ago. He was a good man, and a super talented musician. I am sad for his daughter and wife who both must self quarantine alone apart from each other unable to mourn his passing properly at this time.
Here in Michigan, I hate to admit it, but we seem to not be terribly far behind the ranks of New York, Washington State, and California as we polled as number four on the United States virus hot spot list as of last night.
I value my freedom more than anything honestly, and I do not believe in inappropriate steps to take away anyone's freedom either. But... It is time for a full lock down so that we as people with family and loved ones that we wish to protect can take matters into our own hands to rid our country of this virus.
I would encourage most people to try to avoid the media right now honestly. There is so much misinformation on what is happening, not to mention drama between politicians that are dragging their feet instead of helping the people that they were put in office to serve.
Michiganders are no help any more than New Yorkers it seems in some rights too. Everyone seems to go about their day even after both states have imposed shelter in place orders. While I understand the need to make a living and provide for yourself and your families, I think that all non-critical infrastructure employers should immediately grant employees the ability to work from home, or if a job cannot be done from home, to grant paid time off until things are resolved.
I have seen more traffic out my window on the road now after the shelter in place orders than I did before they were in place. Here in Michigan, we are only supposed to leave our homes for groceries, emergencies, or to help elderly family members. Yet, I saw things like kids in the back of a pickup truck zipping down the road for a joy ride the other day apparently NOT practicing social distancing as if nothing is happening.
It does not surprise me that some people are not taking this seriously. The largest problem though with the virus that we are all witnessing right now is that we are fighting an invisible enemy. This is no traditional war, and not everyone will get sick and die from it either. But, someone can be completely asystematic and carry the virus to pass along to someone else that WILL get sick and die from it.
One of my friends in Portugal told me last week that it is now a law that if you are infected with the virus and leave your home before the recovery period that you get put into jail. I would hope that sick individuals would get put into a hospital bed before jail if they have life threatening symptoms.
One of the other largest issues with the virus right now other than people NOT staying home to end this sooner rather than later is the lack of widely available testing. The CDC has proven that testing can be done by yourself with a testing swab, and then sent to a lab to process. The trouble is that we must immediately realize as global citizens what is and is not time to test things.
The CDC has recommended here as all of the doctors and nurses in the media are saying also to simply self-quarantine and ride things out unless you have life threatening breathing issues in which you should immediately seek medical attention. People are filling doctors offices and hospitals though with everything from a common cold, to allergies. If they were not infected before with covid-19, they certainly are now!
Other common myths that are going around that may help some folks out there is to wear a mask and gloves everywhere. The virus does not infect you unless you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Those are the only methods that it enters the body proven by health care professionals. Leave the gloves and masks for our hard working healthcare providers that are on the front lines! They are the ones that need them.
For the rest of us, the biggest thing that we can all immediately do to fight this virus is to stay home, not touch our face without completely washing our hands first, and to make plans for our household to prevent covid-19 cross contamination.
The best plan that I have seen yet comes from my friend Chris in NYC who is certified in disease control and cross contamination practices as a tattoo artist. Chris uses a plastic tub to immediately dump everything from his pockets when he returns home from going out for essentials. He also immediately removes the clothes that he was wearing and showers without touching his face. This prevents cross contamination in the home by allowing you to know where items are that the virus has touched. You should technically clean your home and practice good hygiene anyways, but if you know where the virus lives, you can kill it with disinfectant.
Another tip for helping to control the spread of covid-19 is to disinfect any groceries, purchases, or mail before it comes into your home. It has been proven that people touch groceries or can sneeze and leave covid-19 on surfaces. Our cell phones alone being made of plastic and metal can house covid-19 for up to 96 hours. Cardboard boxes like Amazon delivers can house it for up to 24 hours.
It is a great practice to get into even outside of pandemic times that we live in right now to stop the spread of germs and bacteria to improve our health and the health of those that we love.
There are many theories of how covid-19 started to be floating around on the internet, and these are times that it is easy to get stressed out and argue against fellow humans. I would urge you all though no matter what your background, culture, race, political beliefs, or religion to simply be kind to each other. You never know what someone else is going through in their life like my friend's daughter who now has to mourn the death of her father alone in quarantine and can't even hug anyone or hold a funeral for him at this time.
If you are bored in quarantine, please come join my live streams at 8pm EST every night on my @charlienaebeck Instagram. Every Sunday going forward is also Photo Club night. If you are a photographer of any skill level, please message me if you would like to show some of your work live with me.
I am also creating tons of new Youtube content completely free of charge to keep everyone entertained and learning. Visit https://www.youtube.com/c/charlienaebeck to check it out.
And join me for live streams on my 79 punks IG account also. I have many talented friends and artists that I will be collaborating live to entertain and lift up spirits.
Thank you for reading my thoughts! I am sorry that this first entry is not as relaxing and inspirational as it could be in an art sense. But I do believe that we should all stay home and end covid-19 even before our leaders tell us to. There is no need for others that we care about to die, and we have the power to make it so.
Take care of yourselves, be safe, stay home, check in on your family and friends regularly, and I will see you for your regularly scheduled photography and art inspiration soon here on this new blog! Much love to everyone around the world! We are all in this together!
p.s. The photo is my favorite shot that I have taken to date from time spent in Milan, IT mere minutes before I left for my first ever Conde Nast meeting. It felt surreal like a Hitchcock film, but there has always been something so calming about the chaos in that image to me.