A love letter from self-isolation in a changed world 💛

Hello friends … So much has changed in this big world of ours in the last couple weeks. I’m certain you’re feeling it, too …

— figuring out how to move through this new time we’re all living in,
— how to meet all of the new challenges it’s bringing to all of us,
— how to keep our heads on straight as we’re taking on new information by the hour and carrying all of the emotions that come with it.

It’s … a lot.

Jamie and I are in the middle of all of that, too. So far, we are well and we are safe. We’re grateful for a comfortable home in which to hunker down and do our part to flatten the curve. And we’ve been thinking a lot about how we are going to weather this time, and what our role might be in it to serve our community.

I want to share a couple of things with you today about that.

First: what’s next for us.

In this strange new time of pandemic-related isolation, Jamie and I find ourselves in an unusual situation: for the first time in nine years, it’s become clear to us that we’re not going to be able to do our annual summer house concert tour. 💔

First, this is very sad for us on a personal level. Our summer tour has come to feel like an extended family reunion, in which we get to strengthen and deepen our communal bonds with people like you all around the country who have come to feel like family.

Second, this poses an unusual challenge for us, in that our summer tour accounts for about 75% of our annual income! 

We work on sort of an agrarian, yearly cycle.

🌱 — In the autumn, winter, and spring, we are planting seeds: writing songs, recording our new album, and dreaming up the ideas and stories that we will be bringing into people’s lives once the weather gets warm. 

🍎 — And then, in the summer, we drive around the country, sharing these songs and ideas and stories. We harvest what we can in that season, and we sock it away, like canning vegetables, to get us through the rest of the year.

What this all means is that, in this new time, our single biggest challenge will be replacing the income from this lost harvest season.

But: we have a plan! ☝🏼

The first thing that we’re doing to address this is that we’ll be transitioning our yearly springtime album fundraiser to what we’re thinking of as a “sustainability fundraiser.” We’ll have more details on that next month.

The second part of this pivot for us, given that we can’t drive around the country sharing ideas and community with people, will involve creating new ways to connect with and be of service to our community.

If there ever were a time
for intentional & creative connection
— my goodness — it’s now.

We have some great ideas for this, which we’re excited to share with you over the next month as we flesh them out a bit better — like you, we’re adapting to this rapidly-changing world in real time.

One immediate way that we are able to be of service to our people in this time is via our Misfit Stars private Facebook group, which everyone who becomes a supporting member of our Misfit Stars online community gets invited to. This group has already become a nurturing space for kind people to support one another; you can join us there immediately by signing up at misfitstars.com/join.

As with everything we do, we will be relying on broad-based support and encouragement from our community (that’s you!) to help us through this uncharted territory. We have an amazing community, and we will be leaning on you in this time.

Thank you for being there for us.
We couldn’t do any of this without you.

Second: how are we all doing?

How are you doing? Seriously …

— taking note of how things are feeling to you in any given moment,
— giving names to those emotions and saying them out loud,
— sorting things into categories of “things I have power to change” and “things I do not have power to change,”

… can be really, really helpful in navigating a time of mass group-level stress like this one.

Some things that have been helpful for me and Jamie:

  • Getting outside when we can (a safe distance away from other humans, of course). We’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood and spending time at a big open space near the waterfront in Tacoma, where we can soak up the sun and a mountain view on clear days.
  • Checking in on loved ones and neighbors. Since we’re healthy and able, it feels good to be able to offer our help where it’s needed, or just a “how you holding up?” reach-out to others.
  • Making music. Some days the world feels just too big, and the next right thing to do is to make / write / create something. It really helps, getting lost in the act of making something new.

On the music-making front, we are actively continuing our work making a new album for you, to be released this June — it’s going great. And we’re also continuing our work with the Pay-It-Forward artist that I told you about in my last love letter — we’ve transitioned to doing remote production with him for the time being, trading recording sessions and notes back and forth over the internet. I’m grateful that it’s possible to adapt to the requirements of the times!

One last thing … this is indeed a strange time we’re living in. Every single one of us is learning how to adapt to changing and painful circumstances every day. It might get harder before it gets better.

So … in this time … we can:

acknowledge it may be tough for a while,

accept that in our elevated stress we may not get our responses to all of it right the first time,

and give ourselves, and each other, lots of grace through it.


You can do it. We can do it. Together. ❤️

Love and grace — shannon