I’ve been dreading that we’ll see an onslaught of “Pandemic tales” in the realm of books. Fictions with familiar plagues, quick books offering useless advice, and so on. I’m obviously and worried we’d see too many people jumping on the plague train.
I’d now like to take that back.
First, I want to take that back in that my assumptions were very negative. There are doubtlessly many people who will write about the Pandemic for good reasons. I focused too much on the negative reasons people might write on it, which was out of line.
My second reason is that I’ve come to realize that we need to look at the Pandemic in fiction, advice books, and memoirs. We need this so we can process the experience.
The Pandemic is overwhelming. Even those of us thinking we’re handling it are not functioning at 100%. Even after the Pandemic, we’ll need to understand our experience and that of others. The written word is a way to do that.
Fiction lets us understand experiences from a safe distance and even a different perspective.
Nonfiction lets us analyze and evaluate data and analysis.
Memoirs let us step into the place of another and see their experience.
Each written work is a gateway into another way to see what we went through.
Writing is a way for us to handle, understand, and share what we’ve gone through. Sure there will be bad work, exploitative work, and so on – but isn’t that happening anyway? I shouldn’t judge the Pandemic by the standards of what goes on anyway.
However, there’s a second reason I realized we should be fine with “Pandemic writing.” Some of us who write may need to write it. We want to get out our feelings, or our inspirations, or record our experiences. We as writers may need to write these books that will come.
Our muse is going to drive us to write these books, so why not? Hell, I’m even considering one at this point (from my unique approach, of course).
So, I take back anything I said about “oh, gods, not an onslaught of Pandemic books.” Writing is how we deal with, learn, understand, and experience things. The Pandemic is appropriate material.
(Besides, we can criticize lousy or opportunistic work no matter how it came to be.)