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Corvids and Viruses: Story Time During Quarantine

The internet is dominated by covid-19 at the moment. It’s to be expected. This virus is affecting the entire globe, creating situations our generation haven’t experienced before.

As a writer (and reader), there are two approaches to a pandemic:

  1. Avoid. Escape into realities that have nothing to do with the outbreak. Write the next great novel. Read anything that doesn’t deal with a pandemic.
  2. Sink into the issue. Immerse ourselves. Fill ourselves with fear, stress, and curiosity.

I am a fan of the second approach. While I appreciate the people who distance themselves from the calls for distance and avalanche of covid-19 articles, my obsessive self demands that I sink into things.

When I am thrown into a situation, I explore its depth. I like to push at its edges and find its boundaries. I search for its authenticity. As a writer, I want to examine every edge and face of my experiences.

Part of this examination is an obsession with similar themes. I tend to grab onto aspects of a situation and run them through to their end. This means right now I am looking for books and movies and stories about pandemics. And toilet paper. And vaccines. And singing on balconies.

When we dip so deep into such a scary issue (because human helplessness is frightening), it is important to find the parts of it that inspire hope. Otherwise we end up spiraling into an abyss of negativity.

Enter Escape Pod 712: When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis written by Annalee Newitz and narrated by Louis Evans.

For me, this Escape Pod episode inspires hope. It takes two potentially frightening things: disease and AI, and puts them together in a way that asks what would happen if these two things turned out okay? What’s the best case scenario, instead of the worst?

I think, especially now, we need some best-case scenarios in our lives. We also need more of a focus on friendship, understanding of those different than us, and the ability to learn and grow.

So if you’re like me and can’t help but immerse yourself in the covid-19 issues, take a moment to allow yourself some positive re-imagining of the world by listening to this podcast.

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