I can only imagine what it must be like for those of you forced to stay indoors. We’re heading that way here, too. Seeing Italians sing and play music from their balconies stirred my soul. I’ve heard people who I’ve never heard talk about books saying they’re stockpiling them like toilet rolls for their weeks of self-isolation. It truly is a unique time to be alive. If you’re holed up somewhere now, I’m sure the hours are passing slowly, and the longer it goes on, the fewer things we have to fill our time.
To help you while away those isolated hours, I’m offering eBook versions of my books A Fantasy Writers Handbook and Flying on the Ground, totally free for the next five days (the longest period Amazon would allow!) You can download and read them on any device. Just download the Kindle app from the App Store.
I’ve seen some crazy and saddening things in this past week or so. Things that belong in the world of fiction. People rushing to supermarkets to stockpile pasta, toilet paper, beans and all manner of junk food. Aggressive mothers of three with trolleys stacked high, elbowing and kicking anyone who happens to glance in their direction. The shelves wiped clear, leaving a few foul-flavoured pot noodles for the old lady already horrified and afraid of what she’s hearing and reading every day. The leader of her country telling the nation that loved ones will die. That the vulnerable, indeed her very self, will bear the brunt of what’s to come. No reassurance offered. No compassion. No help, nor love. Not from her leader, nor from anybody else in our self-centred society.
Within a matter of days, it feels as if the entire world has gone into a frenzied shutdown. Collectively, humanity has retreated into a shell. Gossip and fake news are rifer than the virus itself. This cures it. This keeps it at bay. It’s actually killed this many people. They’re not telling us the truth.
When panic and fear become the norm, the innate instinct to survive kicks in. Survival of the fittest. Dog eat dog. The whole stockpiling fiasco is evidence enough of that.
Covid-19 poses a threat to us all, but the greater threat to humanity is still itself. The gun still hovers over the temple, finger stroking the trigger. Humanity will destroy itself before any virus does. And what we’re seeing now is the very worst in people. All we can do is hope—indeed hope is all we have left—that we learn as a species from this coronavirus craziness. But if history has taught us anything, humanity is somewhat lacking when it comes to learning from the past.