LifeBeat Follow-up: Barbara Nesbitt
The last installment of this follow-up series for 2021 will be none other than Barbara Nesbitt who was the third guest on the second episode of LifeBeat: Conversations with Purposeful Womxn back in September 2020. The pandemic and its associated things (and some non-associated things) brought new challenges for Barbara when we first spoke to her, but it also brought her clarity and new ways to imagine her songwriting and tune in to gratitude. The following Q&A was conducted over email, and Barbara provided her answers on November 30, 2021.
Lizzie: When we last talked, we started off our conversation talking about comfort food. You said your favorite is pizza and your Neenie’s fried chicken. Do those foods still bring you comfort or the memory of comfort?
Barbara: Yes, pizza always! And any of Neenie’s food. But i have been on a major popcorn kick. And spoons full of peanut butter. Always health-conscious, am I.
Next we talked about the concept of time travel and where/when you would go. How would you answer that question now?
I was talking with my boyfriend, Nevada, the other day about the idea of awakening in my 6-year-old body in 1978 with all my current knowledge and experience and having a chat with my father. Asking him to consider his actions and his cruelty against us. What would I say? What would his response be to my appearing to be an alert and aware mind looking at him through my 6-year-old eyes? Would he hit me? Would he stop and think? On and on the ‘daydream’ goes. (I need a different word for that than daydream.)
At the time of our last conversation in Sept 2020, you had been doing Coronagrams. Are you still doing those or has the market for them tapered off?
The market for CoronaGrams has definitely tapered off, but thank you for reminding me I should promote them again! 🙂
I know that you’re able to do in-person gigs again. How has that been?
In-person shows have been miraculous and also exhausting. I am more introverted than people would imagine, and the pandemic allowed me to foster and grow and pet and feed that. As much as I love entertaining people and love singing around my friends and meeting new people, it is a massive tax on my psyche. Totally worth it though.
You also have (re)started a new band, Sister Golden Hair. Tell us more about that.
SGH has been going well. We did a ton of private and corporate events in Oct and Nov and look forward to more. It’s a brave new world as far as the “normal” event season goes, but we are champing at the bit to get out and play …safely.
Do you have any plans to release any of the songs you have written during the pandemic?
I do! My song, “Red Flames,” will be out on Spotify soon. It’s a song I wrote about my motherland, Scotland, during the pandemic and then recorded at Aerie Studios, my friend Mark Addison’s studio. He did an amazing job producing it, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
You mentioned that your songwriting seemed to change a lot while you were in lockdown/isolation. How did it change, and do you think it will change again?
The main way my songwriting changed during the pandemic was that I was drawing on other people and history for inspiration instead of my current relationships. I was alone. Alone, alone. So I had no interpersonal shit from which to draw. And that was always my go-to. It’s nice to open up the lines a little bit there and try new ideas.
When we talked, you were experiencing some health challenges. I don’t want to pry, but can you tell us how you’re doing? How has HAAM been able to help?
HAAM has helped me more than anything. They are the single best thing about the Austin music scene. They provide healthcare and/or health insurance (free) for all working musicians here. My health crap is ongoing and there aren’t many clear answers, but I am adapting and continuing testing and getting through it.
We also talked briefly about food banks and their importance. With the holidays approaching, are there any charities you want to bring attention to?
I asked you then what was next for you, and you talked about focusing on your health and keeping your Patreon going and writing songs. Has all of that come to pass?
I have been focusing on my health whether or not I want to. The windows in the pandemic have kept me busier playing live than expected, so writing has taken a back seat, but I always intend to kick it back into gear. Also, I am happy right now. That is a big hindrance to my writing, but I am trying to challenge myself to write some more happy fucking songs.
You also gave a shout-out to the relationship that has been more deeply developed with your sister. How has that bond helped you in the last year?
My sister and I are closer than ever, and I am so grateful for that. She just had her first granddaughter, and that is taking up a lot of her ‘chat all damn day’ time, but we have set a foundation there that I always feel.
Finally, we talked about joy. You expressed that the small details of living fill you with gratitude. Do you have any advice for anyone who is struggling to see those small details?
I have been lucky because gratitude comes easy to me most days. I feel for those who have a harder time accessing it. I think a walk in the woods, listening to some Chopin, sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, stretching…and other calming things can help to access gratitude. They help me anyway.
Is there anything you want to promote or anything else you want to say about where you are right now with everything?
I just want to say I love Lizzie Wann, and I want to promote her beautiful book, The Hospice Bubble & Other Devastating Affirmations, and all of her writing.
Thanks also for the shout out in your last answer, Barbara! ❤️ And thanks for sharing what’s been on your mind and what musical adventures you’re having. We wish you best!
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