Do or don’t – this has created a thorny and impossible question. First of all, we were tired, so tired of every aspect of that horrible intruder, COVID. Tired of . . . well, everything connected with the unwanted situation. Who would want to read about the pandemic, on top of living it?
There was the sheer horror of it, too, the human toll. A sense of too soon, the reluctance to press on a bruise, to intrude on very real loss and personal grief. And there were purely practical issues as well. If we did decide to write about the pandemic, how? It was an evolving situation, with an unreadable end point. Anything we set down on paper could be a moment in time, a continuing moving goalpost, a never-ending editing nightmare. Can you write about history in the middle of history? Yes.
Ask yourself: Do I want to read about the pandemic? Do I need to? The answer is ‘yes’. I may not want to swim around in the daily, excruciating details, but there might be something that helps you find a place for it all. It happened, is happening. If you want a book to tell you a semblance of the truth – so will your readers
Twelve years ago, Sigrid Nunez published ‘Salvation City’ a novel about a boy whose parents died from a mysterious respiratory illness. She conjured a near-future that seemed like a far-off dystopia, one where a rapidly spreading virus upended society, as schools closed, supplies of hand sanitizer and surgical masks dwindled, understaffed hospitals ran out of ventilators, and new viral variants emerged, causing infections to surge and recede in waves. Fiction then – reality now.
That is the real world! It happens, we know it happens so why not include it?
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“Linda has published sixteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish. She has mentored many authors and edited their work.”
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