Notes from the attic

Greetings from the Attic. Or really, just an attic, located at the post-industrial north end of downtown Sacramento, California. It’s in an old ammunition factory sandwiched between old Highway 160 and Loaves and Fishes, the area’s homeless center.  

Anne Frank jokes piss people off, so I won’t make one – this time.

But I find myself literally in a windowless attic, and the feeling of isolation and retreat from a threat, if in no way tragic, is nevertheless unnerving. And unprecedented, at least in my life, and yours. We’re in unfamiliar territory. We will most certainly survive, most of us, but the damage is already spreading, and we are feeling it. There is a threat out there, and it is as unnerving as any I, or most of us, have faced.

There is no light in here, and until I go downstairs and outside, I couldn’t tell you anything about the real world. As I learned while living in Berlin last January, natural light is an almost inexpressibly precious commodity. Growing up in California, one takes it for granted. Windows, too.

But this attic is offering me possibilities that I would not have encountered in a more traditional refuge during this storm. I am finding renewed creativity and expanded tools and deepening friendships that, even this early in this ordeal, are already pointing to a brighter future.

So, it’s time to finally restart blogging. To explore the torrent of ideas and projects and creations and above all, people, that fill my days. Just to BEGIN, always the hardest part, always justified by uncertainty about what one is undertaking. I don’t know everything I will write about, but I know a lot of it. And I know that more important than any topic is simply to begin, to stop putting it off, as if there will be a better time. Perhaps putting it off in the past was waiting for a better time; but this is most certainly that “better” time.

I landed here after many kindnesses: One old friend organized her art studio for me, and another very sweet friend, a new friend, rearranged her house so that I could live with her – for as long as this may last. Those kind acts have reinforced something I’ve long known, and long appreciated: People are good, and they will go out of their way for you if you need their help. Just in the last week, I have been graced with several offers of a home – even when I didn’t ask.

I travel full time, with no fixed abode, but this is not the time for travel. I still have a ticket to Barcelona on May 12, and I am still a little hopeful that I will be able to use it. But odds against it grow every day, and I am suddenly fine with that, because being forced to slow down and settle down is showing me new possibilities.

This blog is one key to all of that. I hope that future posts will help me keep focused on the many things that I’m attempting to do with the time I have left. This winter in Sacramento was, until two weeks ago, proving very creative, despite several changes of address in the last 10 weeks. (Getting a hotel room in your home town seems to me perverse; at any rate, it’s not an option for a freelance writer.)

And despite the disruptions of the last couple of weeks, and the heavy uncertainty of the immediate future, I feel inspired like never before, as well as committed. I have already executed, through several twists and turns, the concert I had spent much of the winter preparing for, and instead of the house concerts I had planned, there is actually an online record of the concert that I can still share.

The original purpose of the show was to get good recordings of the song to share, and to raise money to pay for the production of a new album. Neither of those things worked out. But I am determined to create a second album, the songs deserve it. I will be asking for support with that in the future, as with other things. But I intend to make that worth your while. Still figuring that out.

The Virus has revealed to me that it’s finally time to do what has been put off, time to stop wasting time. I fully expect to survive this pandemic, but I feel a new urgency in doing what I do, and in doing it in a way that really connects with others, that tells their stories, and my own. I’ll write more about that, too. 

I write long, but I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible. In fact, I will save further enumerations of the projects I’m working on until tomorrow. I intend to post every day, faithfully, and with an eye to connecting with, and growing, the tribe of people I am already so connected with.

If ever there was a time for all of this it is now. It always was. It’s just that now I’m ready.


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read more about david

Thank you for checking out my blog - it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I am working on projects regarding music history, Japanese culture and my songwriting.

- A week-by-week music history website,
- An upcoming book on Japanese culture, Japan from Anime to Zen
- A YouTube channel, featuring random songs and thoughts for the pandemic
- Original music on Spotify, with links to Patreon and Amazon 

David Watts Barton

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