Hello my friends —
While you process the deluge of coronavirus advice and guidance, (and the anxiety, and the chaos), remember this:
As writers, you possess skills that will prove useful in the coming weeks and months. You’re good at listening. You’re good at synthesizing information, and sharing stories.
And as humans worldwide cancel their plans and nestle into their homes in the name of social distancing, you’re accustomed to solitude. We can advise our friends and neighbors on how to manage it.
And we should do exactly that.
“Just as the coronavirus fallout threatens to cause an economic recession, it’s also going to cause what we might call a ‘social recession:’ a collapse in social contact that is particularly hard on the populations most vulnerable to isolation and loneliness,” Ezra Klein wrote recently in Vox.
As writers, we’re fortunate in another way — we’re rooted in the larger literary community. We can fight our own isolation and loneliness by reaching out to our fellow writers.
Now, though, we should expand our community as much as possible — digitally, emotionally, intellectually. In whatever way we can.
“Just as it’s incumbent on [us] to take precautions to limit [the virus’] spread, it’s also important that we reach out to limit its social damage,” Klein wrote.
Reach out to a former classmate and offer to read their most recent story.
Send around a great essay or podcast to your friends and invite them to share their thoughts.
Pick up your phone and call someone who might not be getting out as much these days.
Talk to one another. Listen.
We at Gotham will be doing our part to strengthen the writing community in these strange and difficult times—we’re toying with the idea of hosting a virtual Write-In, and we’re batting around some other ideas as well. Stay in touch with us on social media for updates.
Take care of yourselves, writers, and take care of each other. We’ll get through this together.
PS-Also, I think someone should give an award to the best “We Care About Your Health” coronavirus-outreach email. Personally, I would nominate my friends at ParagraphNY for theirs, which earns points for honesty, creativity, and wit. Got a good one? Find me on twitter and share it!
Dean of Faculty