Fellow writer Tami Shaikh has asked a number of literary folks how they are dealing with the coronavirus epidemics, and I was honored to be among them. Here is the full text of the email interview:
How are you feeling and why?
Worried, of course, of infection, and of the economic effects. Worried also that we won’t be allowed to learn the lessons inherent in this situation, about the value of work, of community, of sustainability both physical and social.
How has this quarantine altered your daily life?
I’ve been laid off from the part-time job I need to make ends meet. And I am not able to meet in fellowship with my friends, which is a great loss.
What is your biggest concern?
Aside from personal demise, of course, the fear that society will collapse into unconsidered anarchy, and bring about an authoritarian reaction, as it did in France after the Reign of Terror, as it seems to be doing in Hungary today.
Do you think we (as a community/ country) are doing as much as we can to reduce the spread and save lives?
Hell, no. “Americans” almost always insist on exemption from the rules they feel others should follow. Although folks have been behaving civilly and sensibly in Los Angeles for the most part, for now. Hoarders excepted.
What is your message to the rest of the world who is suffering along with us?
Breathe. Love. Speak across the distances between us however you can. Let yourself trust others after vetting their words and actions carefully. Let go of possessiveness and ego. Learn to cook.
What is the one thing that has shocked you the most about how people are dealing with this pandemic?
The damn fools holding beach parties and megachurch services in spite of the harm they will bring not only to themselves but to the people around them.
How has your town/city changed because of the shut down?
It’s quieter, cleaner, friendlier. Even if we do greet each other from six feet apart, we are greeting each other more. People are walking more even though driving is not all that restricted here. People are exchanging stories of how they cope.
Once this is over, how do you think our world will change?
With luck, we’ll pay more attention to human values and categorize each other less as economic entities than as kindred souls. We certainly are seeing now what are the real “important” jobs.
If this virus has made you realize one thing, what is it?
That we’re all in this together.