What Will They read?
It’s a big question mark for writers for a post-pandemic period. What will readers read, and hence, what should we be writing?
No doubt, it’s the big five-W questions again.
The pandemic, of course. The one with the number nineteen in its name, though it’s mostly a twenty-twenty event
When sheltering in place and wiping grocery bags with bleach will be in the rear view mirror
Here, there, and most everywhere. But not, in fact, in the same way everyplace.
Human beings on every continents save Antarctica, that’s who L
Religious leaders and some environmentalists already have global moralistic explanations to the "why" of it. I will stay away from such like the plague that this sort of thinking is. The book of Job says it best: we can seek “reasons” but should avoid thinking we ultimately have any handle on moralistic global explanations.
And now, back to the ranch. The place where stories are born and typed, which (for me) is the corner of my room in the corner of my home.
I heard that some people were drawn to stories about plagues. Not me. I had no intention of re-reading Albert Camus’ The Plague, or watching movies like Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion or re-watching Wolfgang Petersen’s Outbreak. No way. Nah-ah. Not.
In the thick of sheltering in place and leaving home as little as possible to get groceries from markets with empty shelves, all I cared to read, watch, and listen to were stories about normal times. Stories with people who greet each other with a hug, and gather to listen to music in large halls, and go out to restaurants where others’ talking made it necessary to raise your voice for conversation. "Normal," like always.
When we’re back to normal, it may be a modified normal. But stories written before will only need slight changes, not seem downright anachronistic like they do now. Of course, there will be novels with this experience in the background. Stories about how some coped, while others frayed at the seams. They’ll likely include the requisite one person dying in each. But I hope that in less time than anyone imagines at the moment stories will return for the most part to where we left them, way back in the historic time of the Fall of 2019.
©Chaim Goldberg Art