Who would have thought that something so tiny—something microscopic—could so quickly change everything? In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, kids have been sent home from school, events canceled, businesses shuttered, and the economy shattered. “Shelter in place” and “social distancing” have become the phrases de jour. Masks and gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are rare and coveted. It is a scary time, a disorienting time.
We can’t alter the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, but we do have some control over how we spent our newly altered days and weeks. Without minimizing the seriousness of this situation, we can try to find glimmers of light. Writers have an outlet not available to everyone. We can write to vent, to explore feelings, to make sense of situations, to savor blessings and share grief, and for solace and escape.
For fiction writers, this could be a time to distract yourself from today’s world by imagining new worlds or creating characters and stories set in the past. Nonfiction writers can document their own experiences, be eyewitnesses to history, call out acts of courage and compassion, or explore the science behind what’s happening.
You may, however, be just too distracted to write long form. Consider poetry, flash fiction, or short stories. Or—if you truly cannot focus on writing—take advantage of free time by enrolling in an online course, setting up Zoom or other distance meetings with your writing group, or indulging your love of reading by ordering books from an independent bookseller (many are offering local delivery or curbside pick-up). And if you’re truly overwhelmed, do whatever you need to take care of yourselves—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
We’re all in this together and we’ll get through it together.
Long-time Savvy Comm client, Fred Schloemer, penned an essay “Great Expectations in Butchertown,” which will be featured in the new Louisville Anthology. I worked closely with Fred to shape and fine-tune the essay and he was kind enough to grant me coauthor status. (Belt Publishing, September 2020)