“How can I avoid the coronavirus?”
“How will this virus affect the economy?”
“How many people will die?”
Countless mavens and prophets are spouting off their opinions and predictions via every imaginable outlet. They may be right, they may not. Some may be way more off than others, but we’re all stuck with the same desire to know what’s coming.
I’m not here to make any kind of prediction about the coronavirus. First of all, I’m not qualified, and second, I don’t think there’s anything to contribute at this point.
What good can a blog centered on stories offer people who are simply craving answers?
While there are usually better analogies to draw from literature, the closest one I can think of for the present situation is this:
Plenty of people are afraid, because they have seen what the coronavirus can do. They’ve experienced firsthand either the loss of a loved one or the effects of the illness itself, and there is pain in that.
Others, though, are afraid because of the unknown.
At this point, most of us have not yet experienced personal loss or illness from COVID-19, and yet mass panic seems to have taken hold of our country. (Why else does the toilet paper keep vanishing from the shelves???)
The analogy breaks down, of course, because we each have a role to play that can either alleviate or exacerbate the spread of this sickness—unlike a reader, who has no influence over the story itself. In this sense, we are more like characters than readers. But we also have our limits. We cannot single-handedly master the situation and establish control over it. Things will take their course, and we can neither foresee nor fix the future before it happens.
An author who is not surprised by any of this. Is this comforting?
The fact is, this really can’t be of any comfort to us unless we personally know and have confidence in the author. Have you ever persevered through a book because you’ve come to have high expectations of its author? Because you trust his ability to bring the loose ends together?
It still doesn’t show us the future. It still doesn’t give us our answers.
But maybe that’s because we are asking the wrong questions.
So I ask you:
How well do you know the Author?