The December before 2020, my wife left the country, to spend the holidays with her family. I had a plane ticket for March and we were going to finally going to be tourists together. My flight was for Friday the 13th. COVID was just gaining speed that week and, as the flight date got closer, the cases grew each day. Where I once felt like an observer, I was becoming more and more a participant. Soon we talked about my not traveling. It was the night before my morning flight, that the decision was made.
Those first few months were strange. So many daily disappointments, with few directions to invest hope. After a few weeks of acclimation, I was able to get a daily routine going. It was always stressful. But I had good moments of focus, that gave me something to look forward to. But soon there would be another missed event. These were difficult.
My wife’s birthday was coming up in May. Borders are closed, so I can’t send a gift. At that moment, she was in a country wide lockdown, so I couldn’t have something delivered. What to do. Too many ideas felt too light. I wanted to be able to touch her heart, from so far away. Finally I thought about writing a song, for her.
Doing this sort of thing is a big undertaking. I’m setting out to write lyrics, compose the music, sing (such a painful idea), play the guitar, play the bass (finally an easy one), record and edit the session, create a story board for the video, shoot the video, edit video clips to create a “stop motion” creation (this takes a while), and then the rest of the electronic dance that has to happen.
The whole thing had a flow. It started one morning. I looked out the bedroom window, and it was raining and blowing hard. I instantly sang the first few lyrics. The music came quickly and was already mostly in place. So I woke up, with the guitar part in my mind, and it all came together. The lyrics became finished, over a few sessions. The song was composed on guitar, so that part was done early, but practicing singing needed a big focus. This is the first recording of my singing, and the first time I’ve sung a solo piece. There was work to do.
The stop motion idea came from two items, that are familiar to us. In my studio, there is a toy squirrel, that looks over all I do. The angel lives on a shelf and sits high on top of the Christmas tree every year. I saw the actors and the story was quickly forming. After a bit of research, I decided to go with shooting video of still moments. I like how there’s a sense of life, inside each “still”. The video took over two hours to capture. I can’t remember how many hours it took to edit, but it was a lot.
Finally, the entire thing was done with a few days to spare. The day of her birthday we planned a video chat. I posted the video and sent her a link. Watching her see the video for the first time was beautiful. Distances are so difficult. The love between us on that day, was one of my favorite experiences of 2020.