Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Historical (not Hysterical) Perspective Needed

Though the global response and economic shut-down feels unprecedented for any who haven’t lived through the great depression or the last world war, (not many of them left) it is not the world’s end nor the end of history, and more than ever we need to know humanity’s past to regain perspective.

I’ve always loved historical fiction. My published novel is one such, about a traumatic episode when at one time and place a feeling that annihilation could be immanent saturated the air. I lived that one, and lived to write about it some years later.
My father had survived a far greater trauma. My mother remembered the Great Depression as something from her childhood that left her frugal for the rest of her life. We have many in our midst who lived through historic shifts in their countries of origin, some still ongoing.

From where I stand right now, I don’t feel the current crisis is in the magnitude of any of the above. But, of course, it’s the unknown-unknown while it’s ongoing. So my ‘”hunch” or feeling only matter to the way I conduct myself, while G-d knows what G-d knows.

Here’s my bit of perspective: As storytellers, we who write will have even more to mine. Stories are an integral part of humanity and always needed. I feel a responsibility not to contribute to fear, and while doing the right common sense things also keep notes and document this event for the future. This doesn’t mean specifically “COVID-19 Tales,” but observations of human behaviors, the good and noble and the less good, for future literary exploration.

The one sure thing is that it will pass. It will be history. Then, we’ll say (as the French do) “Quelle histoire!” (=”What a story!”)

In the meantime, I strive to stay well and most of all to stay generous. Same to you, everyone.


Evelyn said...

Good perspective, Mirka. Praying for good health and safety for you and your family.

Vijaya said...

Amen, Mirka. Prayers for a very blessed Passover to you and yours.

Janie Junebug said...

I like your common sense. The world didn't stop turning after the flu pandemic of 1918, and they had no way of coming up with a vaccine at that time.


Jenni said...

History does give you perspective. I think of what my grandparents and great grandparents lived through...This will pass, but I hope we will not forget to be thankful for all the little things we took for granted before.

janlcoates said...

Interesting, as always. I'm paying close to attention to people and their behavior during this time (and all the time, truthfully); we know of someone who continues to go to their non-essential office daily (even during their mandatory 14-day self-isolation post-travel), and we're doing a slow burn, but not calling the authorities (although lots of Nova Scotians are ratting out their neighbors who aren't following protocol, necessitated by the government calling this a state of emergency - dozens have been fined $700 and more). Solidarity isn't easy for everybody. We've had amazing political leadership so far, and I'm so grateful for that, among other things. Stay well out there!

Barbara Etlin said...

Good stories are need more than ever right now, whether in books or movie videos or tv shows. For distraction, enlightenment, inspiration, comic relief.

Happy Passover, Mirka. A single friend is celebrating the seder with her family virtually on Zoom. It's a Passover to remember, for sure. As I read on Twitter, "Next year with people!"

Sherry Ellis said...

I think this experience will provide a lot of material for writers! It certainly reveals a lot about human nature.

MirkaK said...

I agree with you that a historical, not hysterical, perspective is needed in times like these. We are not the first to experience a worldwide epidemic (or pandemic). We have medical equipment and medicines that did not even exist during the influenza epidemic of 1918. We have instant communication channels to relay important information. We can contact family and friends by phone or through the internet. And if anyone gets bored, there's an endless amount of entertainment to be found online--everything from audiobooks to movies, from newspapers to e-books, from podcasts to music. Yes, some people are being hit hard economically while others are able to continue working remotely. Some are on the frontlines, trying to stem the tide from becoming a flood. Knowing the ordeals my parents endured during World War I and II, perspective is on my side. This pandemic will pass. I hope that it will lead to a worldwide reset of what's important, valuable, and essential; and not just during hard times, but all times.