With so much time together with our lovers, many expected a pandemic baby boom, but it is looking more like a bust.
I get it.
My writing fantasy is to have stories - the ones that reveal the places we live and breathe, the dark places, the places of joy - and also the time to write them.
I now have the time but the onslaught of stories is just too much. The edits on my book are not a boom but a bust. A total bust.
Normally, when I work I shut out the world. Ignore it. However, this is a time in history when absorbing what is going on in the world is needed.
When I sit down to write, my head swirls from the page outward. Perhaps my characters are talking on the phone - I think of all the people isolated by #COVID19 who can only talk to those they love by phone. When my characters sit for coffee, I think of all the lonely people unable to gather and the small coffee shops struggling to survive in this pandemic.
Then there are the elderly in long term care homes, isolated and at times suffering with dementia - how do they make sense of the long days when no familiar faces come? Do they forget them? Do they remember them in their dreams?
The children who once rushed up to playgrounds to do what we have forgotten to do - play with abandon with children they have just met. Now, they are masked and are asked to keep their distance. Will they play with abandon when the virus is gone or will they grow up too soon into the far more distanced adults that surround them? Hell, we are asking them to keep their distance so it would be a small wonder if they don’t.
The lovers, the ones that had planned romantic trips, weddings and parties - what happens when none of that is possible? Do they put that spontaneous side - the most romantic moments - on hold. Can they return?
And then there are those who don’t return at all. Their families watch them disappear into the bowels of an ambulance or hospital and then can’t see them, hold them before they die.
I’m bombarded by stories of my colleagues in the #COVID ICUs. They have so many tools to save people but now, their tools are often useless against Covid-19. Death after death. It's everything they've been trained to fight and yet they lose the battle constantly. They are tired and demoralized when one patient dies, the numerous deaths are just too much for them.
And, perhaps a few blocks from these ICUs, people are gathering without masks, perhaps in homes, to have a drink, laugh and spread this damn virus around another room.
Will all the pandemic stories raging around demanding attention finally settle when the worst of this pandemic is over? Will we have time to write them when life returns to normal?
My hope is that these stories will be written and we will take the time to pay tribute to each person we can. There have never in my lifetime been so many stories crying out to be told. There are also so many people who are now no longer with us to tell their story and we need to honour them by telling it.
I have practiced medicine. I have written. Both involve a similar process.
In medicine, the key to a diagnosis is always the story - the more fulsome the story, the more likely the diagnosis will be accurate. And after diagnosis, following the story allows us to assess the treatment and, more importantly, how the patient is doing.
With writing, the key is always the story and the more fulsome, the more accurate.
With the pandemic stories that will be written, I hope that that they will be about how we recover, or don’t, from this terrible time in our history. Like a medical story, we need to follow this up.
At this point in time I have no idea how the story ends for us all.
Oh, and babies. We need to see more babies please. We need a new generation to whom we pass on our stories, because this has been a time of such important stories. But until we pass on our stories, we need the joy of a new beginning.