For those of you working on coping strategies during the pandemic, here’s one for you: Start thinking like a jazz musician. We’ve had to cope financially and socially for years.

Can’t wrap your mind around what the future holds for you and your family? Welcome to our world! Jazz musicians who improvise must let go of outcomes every day. We are inspired by our muses and have no choice but to let go. Our muses guide us and let us know where the next paycheck, meal, babysitter or teacher is coming from. The bottom line is faith in its purest form. If you need to define terms, go ahead.

Artists are used to spending hours alone to practice, write and create. When it comes time to share our art, we often need to throw ourselves into noisy and chaotic environments to sell and share our creations. We’ve gotten good at engaging with the public and not engaging with the public. It’s a parallel universe to living in times of a pandemic.

Artists show up in their lives with the accent on creativity. I’ve seen many of you using creative coping skills and I know you’ve seen the same. Our children are experts in creativity; they know how to show up in their lives. Their spontaneity and flexibility are reminding us about humor and resilience in our new normal.

Kudos to all the helpers out there. Your spirit, tenacity and creativity are infectious — in a good way.

Joan Schubert, Golden Valley

The writer is a jazz flutist and composer.


I’m mourning my season, but it doesn’t compare to other losses

The front page of the Sports section on March 31 lamented the loss of the youth spring sport season at the hands of the coronavirus (“Youth isn’t served”). The subhead reads, “Kids’ opportunities to develop in organized sports vanish in pandemic.” I would like to point out that a number of other things have vanished in this pandemic, including the lives of thousands (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of today, nearly 5,000 people have died in the U.S. alone due to the virus) and the livelihoods of millions (over 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the U.S. according to the Department of Labor as of two weeks ago). I don’t mean to alarm those people reading this who were unaware of the scale. I simply mean to illustrate that “the pain of losing scheduled games” is trivial in comparison to the pain of losing a loved one or losing stability.

By the way, I’m not some bitter guy well past his prime. I’m a high school athlete who was looking forward to the spring season. I encourage those who now lack sports to stay fit on their own. There are plenty of online fitness clubs that can be motivational and fun. We’re all in the same boat here.

At the end of the day, I will only have six stripes on my letter jacket instead of seven. Boo-hoo.

Samuel Robertson, St. Paul


Harsher ‘stay home’ is in order

I am appalled by the lack of concern for humanity in this country and specifically in Minnesota. The fact that lives hang in the balance over whether or not we socially distance and the best we can come up with is a toothless stay-at-home order is mind-boggling. How are 78% of jobs in Minnesota essential?

I work at a fast-food restaurant. While closing the dining rooms has cut down on the chance for spreading disease, it has not eliminated it. What would eliminate it is the wholesale limitation of human contact. This includes drive-throughs. Money is not clean. Being less than 6 feet from a customer in a drive-through is not clean. The fact that thousands upon thousands of people are still out and about getting food at restaurants is not clean. I ask again, what are we doing to stop coronavirus? It seems like nothing. And that won’t flatten any curve.

Michael Appleton, Duluth, Minn.

• • •

Days into Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order for Minnesota and what do we see? Teenagers taking advantage of spring (and the lack of school) to meet up with their friends in Kenwood Park; carloads of young adults (liberated from college and work obligations) unloading to hang out around Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Bde Maka Ska; runners weaving in and out of pedestrians, barely missing them with the swing of their arms; cycling clubs of Tour de France hopefuls blowing past (and dangerously close) to families strolling along the greenways; and Harley-Davidson enthusiasts cruising up and down Hennepin Avenue. In other words, Minnesota’s stay-at-home order is a farce: encouraging people to mingle and move across the city rather than limiting contact and staying put.

Bryan Pekel, Minneapolis

• • •

Politicians have asked the public to extend social distancing until April 30. The public should ask the politicians to extend bipartisanship until April 30 — and beyond.

Gale J. Anderson, Bloomington


You’d rather die? Write that down.

I am a 65-year-old who works in a grocery store. Before heading out for my Saturday shift I read my Star Tribune and saw the paid advertisement telling us to “stop the economic suicide” by accepting a few thousand deaths from the novel coronavirus rather than making any economic sacrifice to protect our vulnerable citizens.

I have a suggestion for those who claim they would sacrifice their lives to avoid an economic downturn. Prepare a written document, much like a health care directive, stating that if infected, you will not seek treatment and no health care provider will be liable for withholding treatment — such as a ventilator or drug — from you. File this with your hospital, or better yet, place it in your wallet so that no first responder has to put themselves at risk for you. I am calling this the Glenn Beck pledge.

I am not willing to sacrifice my life or anyone else’s to protect your investment account. Put your money — or life — where your mouth is.

Susan Anderson, Norwood Young America, Minn.


Trump stumbles into right decision

I’m generally in agreement with the Star Tribune Editorial Board, but lauding praise on Trump for making “the right call” to extend social distancing shows us just how low the bar has been set (“Trump’s time frame turns more realistic,” March 31). Foot perpetually in mouth, the man dispenses three cups of nonsense to every teaspoon of reality-based information. Science, not the president’s intuition, are what will get us through this pandemic. Trump had been stubbornly resisting the advice of every infectious disease expert on the planet, until at last, he relinquishes and makes “the right call.”

Do we think this signals a newfound respect for science, facts and reason? Come on. This is like cheering on a drunken driver who momentarily gets back in his lane after careening all over the highway.

Travis Anderson, Minneapolis

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