Writing in Upheaval

Narration and Covid-19: Empty Cities and the Trump Death Clock, Part I.

  • As we expand the scope and depth of our consciousness to further understand this more than challenging time, and as we expand our heart’s embrace to include our global community, it may be that a formula approach to story structure simply won’t cut it. 
  • Expanding the world of our stories comes with admitting the complexity and contradictions of causality, characterization, and the very structures of story.

Part I.

The first social narrative of Covid-19 v. the truth of it 

For a long time, I had been aiming to get back to writing a blog on creative writing craft and related issues of voice and language. Then, Covid-19. For a long time since this became a significant aspect of our daily consciousness, it’s also become clear to what vastly different degrees the pandemic has affected different communities, especially by race and economics; by status as immigrants; by lack of access to healthcare; by being unhoused or incarcerated. The most vulnerable and least cared for, the essential workers who would not or could not stay at home, the poor without any possibility of socially distancing…you know by now the weight, the dangers faced. The urgent problems continue. 

But what about the first descriptions of the pandemic, the first narratives of Covid-19? 

Luckily, there are always people who, by nature of the complex and challenging histories from which they come, interrogate the narratives launched as The Truth. 

Such people, such writers among them, hold an expansive map of the world and its stories that includes the many distinctions that the first social narrative of the pandemic excised, veiled, buried, distorted, ignored. 

That first narrative we were fed, said—we all are affected; the virus does not discriminate.

But the hard look at numbers gave us data which said, the virus may not discriminate but human beings do; political and economic systems do; entrenched and brutal racism does; abuse and exploitation of immigrants, the poor, people of color, the incarcerated, the homeless, the sick, the elderly, do. 

Attending to these distinctions nourishes, but also makes great demands upon, the writer. 

A different map of the world = a different story

We all knew what we knew. From experience, from research, from history, from alliances, from love. But on a larger scale, we have begun to witness and participate in a vast transformation of consciousness which in ways has everything to do with how large our map of the world has become; how complex our understanding of the underlying causes of things, has become. 

Since Covid-awareness began to transform consciousness on a greater scale than ever before, a global scale, things have changed, again and again. What congeals within constant change, but that which was never in touch with the world itself. You know who that might be. 

Yet, what seemed impossible—images of seemingly empty cities not destroyed by war or natural disasters—unfurled through camera rolls around the world. Of course, cities have been emptied before, all through time. Left standing, empty of inhabitants. I think of this ancient Mayan city hidden under Guatemalan jungle: “Aerial laser mapping detects thousands of hidden structures in Peten region, suggesting its population was millions more than previously thought.”


A different map, a different story of the world.

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