Writing in the Time of Covid-19


Writers shouldn’t rush to put out a Covid-19 book, according to Sloane Crosby in her recent New York Times essay.

Even though every writer in the world is seeing the world through a virus lens at this moment. Even though we’re all sentenced to our desks. Even though we can’t concentrate on writing anything else.

At least Crosby understood the irony of her own writing about what we shouldn’t write about. Because we’re too immersed in its moment, too much living the experience. We don’t have perspective. She pointed out that novels appearing a year after 9/11 have not held up well, without naming any.

But me? If I’ve got a brilliant idea, even if it’s the same idea that every other writer gets, I’m going to run and run hard with it. Why not? It will be the story I want to tell. My voice. My style. My imagination. It might be a good one.

But Crosby says slow down. Take all the notes you want, but don’t try to write the book. So notes:

  • When I was running in the park today I put a hand up to wave at someone I passed. I wondered if there might become a new gesture when two people pass each other in the era of social distancing. It’s a wave, where you raise your hand in a way that also blocks your face in a gesture of defense against airborne toxins. “Hello and stay away,” the sad gesture says.
  • Our dear leader doesn’t just call it the Chinese virus but he blames Covid-19 on a Chinese plot to bring down the western world. The Chinese were willing to sacrifice a certain number of their citizens as a cover and then clamp down and control the virus, knowing the United States was not prepared in any way to handle the pandemic. China is sure to take over the world now, but they underestimate American resolve, who fight back and somehow prevail. [This idea is the kind that once went straight to video upon production].
  • Another thing about China: I played Chinese Checkers last night, first time since I was a kid. Interesting game, requires a strategy I haven’t figured out yet. I lost to my more analytic spouse.
  • From a survival-of-the-species perspective, it’s not a bad idea to pull back the throttle on economic expansion, wealth hoarding, and consumerism. Look how much better the air is around the globe in the last two weeks. And a disease that takes out 2 million, or 200 million, or 2 billion people, could be seen as helpful toward long-term species survival. Volunteers? Anyone? Lottery draw? Check out THE CULLING.
  • I need something that administers as an electric shock every time I touch my face.
By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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