Writers bear witness to the pandemic.
Scrima and Winner, editors of the online literary journal StatORec, invited 32 writers to contribute to a special Corona Issue responding to the experience and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is a diverse, often intimate collection of stories, essays, poems, novel excerpts, and flash fiction that serves, according to Winner, “as a record and reminder of a very strange period in all our lives.” Writers consider lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, loss, and grief. Some examine social and political effects, including mass protests incited by George Floyd’s death, and the polarization that continues to afflict public life. Writes Winner, “long-standing evils get activated—racial violence in the United States, fascist sentiments in Germany, mistreatment of the indigenous in the Brazilian rainforest—while commonly-held conspiracy theories grow more and more outlandish.” Readers will likely recognize themselves in many pieces. “When you drop the bravado of This Is The Opportunity To Work On Myself And Grow As A Person To Heal And Create A New World,” writes novelist and actor Joan Juliet Buck, “everything suddenly weighs tons: feet, arms, head, the air, the day, the time.” English professor Joan Marcus admits feeling “dull, half-awake, beaten by tweet storms and the pulse of electronic info that scours my brain.” For musical theater writer Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, who left New York for a rental on the Maine shore, “the future extends as far as what to make for dinner.” Some pieces reflect singular perspectives: Physician Christine Henneberg, an abortion provider, is certain that the pandemic has caused her patients to feel more pain during the procedure. Barbara Fischkin, whose autistic adult son lives in a group home, recounts intense frustration over not being able to care for him when he was diagnosed with the virus.
Vivid testimony to the depth and breadth of suffering during this uniquely stressful time.