“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity," wrote T.S. Eliot. To help make productive use of our self-isolation and social distancing, Lit Cleveland is offering free writing challenges each week via our newsletter. The following piece is a response to the Negative Definition prompt.
It's Not Nothing
by Eastshore Writers J. Blakeney; M. Miller; D. Millett
This Coronovirus. This COVID-19. It’s not nothing.
It’s not “I’m still going to party on the beach!” It’s not “We’re not canceling the wedding!” It’s not “I have a sore throat but I’m going to the grocery story!”
It’s not to be ignored. It’s frightening; it’s deadly. And we’re deep into it.
But it’s not an excuse for the worst in us to surface. It’s not an excuse to stockpile ammunition, toilet paper, medical supplies, food. It’s not an excuse to bilk others, cheat the system, con your neighbors. Who are you anyway? It’s not the time to forgo love, compassion, empathy. And it’s not the time to reject kindness, laughter, and the simpler joys. It’s not the time to give up on life. And listen to us now – it’s not the time to forget all of this.
It’s not the end of the world. Don’t even think it’s the end of civilization. It’s not unbeatable or even unbearable. It’s not going to make us paranoid, terrified, atrophied, or bullied. It’s not going to derail our lives, destroy our values, wipe out our aspirations. It’s not going to change our desire for human connection. That means all of us. We’re in it together.
It’s a challenge. It’s a test. You can do it. You’ve done it before. We’ve done it before, together. You help me, I help you, we make it through. And we will. Trust that we will.