It is springtime in 2020 and the world feels like it’s rolling in a current. The rapids are approaching us here in the United States, in Central Appalachia, in West Virginia. I can see the white foam. It is called a pandemic.
We are in the midst of a paradigm-shifting world event. And it moves so fast it is hard to process. Our social infrastructure was not built for this. The supply chain cannot keep up. The public is uninformed and confused. Some people are in denial. Government officials have a conflict of interest between keeping the world from falling apart and maintaining the fiction that their leadership has kept us safe.
The speed of events, paradoxically, becomes a drag on our processing of them. We blink in disbelief. We are dazed by lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, the closures of businesses all over our towns.
I step outside into the spring air and listen to birdsong echo down our silent street. The trees are blossoming, the breeze is warm, and tiny flowers burst out everywhere in the high grass. The world is beautiful in spite of everything.
We must go on. I feel an intense urge to create, write, produce. Will we become sick? Will we survive? The possibilities tick closer to certainties every day the coronavirus spreads unchecked. We have no vaccine, no antidote, no supplies. The hospitals will become overwhelmed.
Yet I must continue to write. To write not only about life as it is now, but as it was before and must be again. All the human problems and struggles large and small, internal and external. I must keep making art about the world and its inhabitants, because I love them and because I am here.
So today I begin this blog and build this website. I am taking a step forward in my writing life. I intend to publish my fiction, poetry, and essays, and contribute however modestly to our magnificent artistic culture. I hope you will work with me, through whatever may come, to advance our human expression about this world.