Cautious Optimism in the Age of COVID-19

This week, Canada closed its borders, Ontario’s premier declared a state of emergency, and Italy’s death toll shot up past China’s. Conventions and other gatherings are being cancelled, and the Canadian and US governments are talking about broad financial support for people and businesses affected by loss of income. These are uncertain times, my friends.

With this pox on all our houses, it can be hard not to panic. Lives and livelihoods may be on the line for some, and everyone’s patience and sanity will be tested.

Personally, I’m kind of lucky. I’ve been working exclusively from home for about five years now, so self-isolation is the standard at Casa Verdandi, and because freelancing brings a modest (and unpredictable) income, I’m used to keeping my life simple and my coffee cupboard stocked. And yes, I have enough toilet paper to last at least two weeks.

In the grand scheme of things, however, the current situation is manageable — as long as everyone takes the necessary precautions. A tall order, I know, but it is possible. Everyone faces some degree of risk to their health and finances, but at least we know how to keep a lid on this pandemic so that it doesn’t become an all-out crisis.

For better or worse, life will go on. Frankly, I’m hoping that some of the measures being debated and rolled out in North America will lead to more/better universal health care and maybe even universal basic income. (Yes, I am a socialist — deal with it.)

Writing, editing, and the arts in general may prove to be more valuable than ever, with people being quarantined or staying home out of an abundance of caution. At least, I’m hoping so, even though it could be months before life even begins to look normal again. Money may be tight for many families, and groceries must come before entertainment. While I know I can ride out this storm, I can’t help but wonder just how modest my income may be over the next two years.

In the meantime, my publisher, Renaissance Press, will keep the spice flowing with a 25% sitewide discount using coupon code STAYHOME. My trip to Iceland will have to wait until 2021, but I still expect to sell prints, paintings, and other goodies at Arts Market later this year. To get ready, I’m sewing bespoke purses, and I’ll eventually get around to making cloaks and other larger items. I’ve already stocked up on fabric and there isn’t really anywhere to go, so you know what I’ll be doing this weekend. And every weekend for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, I’m holding out hope that the COVID-19 pandemic can be wrangled into submission, assuming we all do our part. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t go out unless it’s necessary — you know the drill.

If nothing else, the pandemic is a reminder that life is unpredictable and that tomorrow is not promised. Make the most life while you can. Read books, make art, dance, play games, and tell people know how much you love them.

See you on the other side.


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