Coronavirus death toll in the United States, COVID-19 pandemic, Essential labor force, Lockdown in Los Angeles during pandemic, Minority Power Elite, National mourning during pandemic, Writers as essential professionals, Writers’ Critique Group Meetings & Workshops
Today marks the fifty-third day of my home isolation under our statewide lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Though I’m used to working at home, the fallout of this global pandemic has unsettled my creative writing process. I can no longer focus. Our federal government’s chaotic mishandling of this health disaster has scrambled my brain cells. Each day brings new shocks that demand processing.
Attempts to write the fourteenth chapter of my third book have proved futile. Instead, I focus on completing the essential research required to add legitimacy and depth to the profiles of women I plan to feature in this book. More than ever, men and women must work together as equal partners to find solutions for the existential crises the human species now face. No more name calling. No more putting down. No more cries to lock her up.
After my initial consideration to postpone the 2020 release of my second novel, The Twisted Circle, I’ve decided to go ahead with its publication. I’m now ticking off each step completed of the process for submission of my complete manuscript from cover to cover. More about the cover art at a future date.
Our monthly writers’ critique group meetings have been disrupted. With the closure of restaurants here in Los Angeles, three of us connected by phone for our April 8th meeting. Without any submission from me this time around, our meeting lasted for just an hour. I missed sharing a meal together at Gloria’s Restaurant on Venice Boulevard and catching up on our individual news. Will our favorite meeting place survive this crisis and open its doors again to welcome us? I do hope so.
Events held at Beyond Baroque were also put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in mid-April, their weekly Monday night writers’ workshop meetings took place on Zoom. For internet security reasons, I’ve opted not to participate. My loss? Maybe.
These disruptions in my writer’s life are trivial when compared to the tragedies unfolding in the world beyond the safety of my home. As at May 3rd, across the United States, more than 67,000 people have died from the COVID-19 disease. And that’s just over a period of less than three months. Compare these casualties with the 58,000 American soldiers who lost their lives in our 20-year war in Vietnam. Without defenses in place, COVID-19 is a formidable terrorist.
America’s well-armed military forces, the greatest worldwide, are no match for an enemy that targets strong, asymptomatic carriers to bring down the weakest among our ranks. The trillions of dollars diverted to the military industrial complex for our never-ending global wars of terror have served only to weaken our national healthcare system and social safety net. If nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic is a reminder that our nation is as strong as our weakest link. To be sure, our foreign enemies, made of the same flesh and blood, have not failed to note the holes in our defense systems.
Worse yet, the most vulnerable among us are the very ones that make up our essential labor force. Our underpaid and undervalued working poor, struggling to stay afloat from one day to the next, are now on the frontlines keeping our food supply operational and holding the hands of our loved ones dying alone on the battlefield.
While we as a nation applaud and thank our healthcare workers on the frontlines saving lives, as we should, we appear to be numb to the lives lost in this ongoing battle. No bell tolls, no bugle sounds, no gunshot is fired. Not even a minute of silence. Our dead have become mere statistics.
On April 30, our Commander-in-Chief praised his administration for their excellent work on dealing with this health crisis. “Our death totals, our numbers per million people, are really very, very strong. We’re very proud of the job we’ve done,” he told the gathering.
The callousness of the minority power elite in the face of our growing death toll disturbs my thinking mind. We the working masses deserve no better consideration than the cattle, pigs, and chickens at their meat processing plants. We exist only to serve them and create wealth for them. When one of us dies, there’s always someone else ready and willing to take our place. The risks to human safety be damned.
It is humbling to be reminded that I am nobody, that I am disposable, in the grand scheme of the minority power elite who control our world. I question the value of my work as a writer. Are writers even essential to society? I would like to believe that we are as essential as those who grow, reap, and process our food crops. When the power elite demonize, silence, and murder our journalists here in America and worldwide, I know beyond doubt that our work as writers is having an impact. And so, I go on…