Whatever we'd originally planned to post today, it seemed like we should take a breather and just admit our current reality: COVID-19 has created unprecedented consequences and challenges.
It's rough out there.
As of this writing, the World Health Organization's latest situation report includes 179,112 confirmed cases and 7,426 deaths. The outbreak map looks like this:
Not to mention that Tom Hanks and Idris Elba have both tested positive. The madness!
Gone from our daily lives are many activities we counted on to provide for, support, and entertain us.
Some of y'all have been seriously impacted with income difficulties, family concerns, and personal anxiety. Here at Writers in the Storm, we want to give you a big, online hug. Socially distanced, of course.
When in crisis...
As Lisa Cron laid out beautifully in her book, our brains are wired for story. We craft stories to make sense of the world around us, learn from our experiences, and form plans for the future.
Stories are powerful.
Go on any social media platform right now, and you'll find people sharing their stories about how things are going. Or making up stories of how's it going, to evoke empathy or laughter. #QuarantineLife was trending on Twitter, as folks shared their newfound realities. And did so with real creativity!
No, I have no idea who those people are, but those are stories about how it's going. And others are intrigued by them.
Then there are those who turn to story to explain what's happening right now. Whether it's studying historical events like the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 or the SARS outbreak of 2003, or finally reading or watching such fictional pandemic stories as Stephen King's The Stand novel or Steven Soderbergh's Contagion film, people look for comparisons. Some comparisons work, some don't, but we use them to help us tell today's story.
It's something to do.
Of course, plenty of people whose lives have been disrupted find comfort in stories as simply something to do.
More people are binging shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming networks. Readers are pulling books off their to-be-read piles and finally diving in or downloading new reads on their phones and tablets.
Someone out there who's been wanting to write a novel since forever is finally putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and turning out a word count they couldn't manage before. If that's you reading this post right now, good for you! After all, in case you hadn't heard, William Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine.
Though I'm with author Lauren Hough on this one:
It's also a challenge.
But as many people as there are now digging deep into stories, a number of writers just lost their ability to get any work done.
Yes, I see all of you parents who suddenly have preschool or school-aged children under foot. Not to mention those working overtime in healthcare or caring for someone who's sick. And those who got caught away from home when the travel bans hit.
Forget word count. You just want some semblance of normalcy!
Your work of fiction has been replaced by your personal story of upheaval. Believe me when I say the WITS team is pulling for you to have a happy ending.
Whatever your situation, we invite you to tell your story here. That's what we as humans do in everyday life, but especially in crisis: we craft and share stories.
Let us know what's going on since COVID-19 altered your life or tell us an exaggerated or fictional tale that connects or cheers us up in the face of difficulty. What's your story?
Julie Glover has oddly experienced little disruption lately—being a committed introvert, empty-nester, and self-employed writer. As a Gen Xer, she was mentally prepared for apocalyptic events by movies like War Games, Red Dawn, and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Though she really thought it would be the rise of the machines, not a virus, that eventually closed restaurants and bars. Anyway...
If you need something awesome to read right now, check out her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, which finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® and is now on sale!