The novel coronavirus has taught us many things as a nation and a world. We’ve learned the importance of having open lines of communication and proactive collaboration between various agencies and organizations at all levels of government. We’ve learned the danger of complacency during an era in Western history that has been largely untouched by any global strife that could be felt by people at all levels of life. We’ve learned the capacity of the human heart – to give, to help, and to support one another. We’ve learned the measure of human strength – to adapt, to endure, and to overcome adversity. These are only some of the lessons and perspectives that will be passed along to the current, young generation and next, future generation of humanity.
Through this time of uncertainty, there is one thing that has united ALL people: the arts. We have been inundated by videos, posts, messages, and pictures about how our families, neighbors, and friends are spending their time during the era of “social distancing.” Presently, people are binge-watching/streaming their favorite television shows and sitcoms, popcorn-eating to new movies or old favorites, reading books, comics, manga, and articles, as well as deep-diving into favorite artistic hobbies and pastimes like scrapbooks, photography, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, filming, illustrating, graphics design, computer animation, online performances, and, of course, writing.
So, what role do artists, specifically writers, play in this pandemic to do our part and be ‘essential?’ It’s a question that I’ve asked myself frequently as I rebuild my brand and my website. I was already in a state of transition, or transformation, before this illness became so public and rampant. (I hate to admit I took an online spirit animal quiz and – no matter how many times I retook it adjusting my answers – I got a “Butterfly” … I’m really in transformation mode whether I want to see it this way or not!) So, it has allowed me to engage in some introspective thoughts about the ‘vision’ and ‘mission’ of my brand.
I’ve always desired to keep it simple: I tell stories. Sometimes they’re mine. Sometimes they’re not. But I truly believe that every story is valuable and should have its day in the sun. Stories are what connect us, inspire us, and free us. During this time period of physical distancing, the NEED and IMPERATIVE of connection cannot be overstated or ignored. That’s where we come in as writers. On our blogs, in our books, with our manga/graphic novels/comics, from our movies/TV shows, and through our stories, we can bridge the divide. We have the power to connect people to others, places, and experiences that shine a light on or offer an escape from the present world. It’s our part to play, and we’ve got to do it right…with intention.
As the phrase goes, some of us aren’t ‘new’ to this, we’re ‘true’ to this. So, let’s encourage the new writers and new poets who aren’t as familiar with the ways they can connect with readers (or other creators). We need to seek out opportunities to touch those in our community (local and global) whether it’s through collaborative social media campaigns with illustrators and graphic artists, insightful posts on our blogs, online poetry readings, virtual classrooms filled with inspirational stories and teaching tools for parents/students, or whatever other brilliant ideas you come up with.
Just do it. Tell it. Share it.
Let’s play our part, and watch this beautiful story unfold.