I live in an area with strict stay-at-home orders because of the pandemic. Over the past weeks, I’ve learned much. Last year I was touched by a CBS news segment about a girl who grants the wishes of nursing home patients. They don’t want the status symbols younger people can crave, but simple items such as cola and fresh fruit.
The segment felt abstract to me last year. Now that I rarely indulge in perfume or hairspray and my best clothes remain untouched, I better understand the simplicity of desiring nothing more than the basics. I pray The Lord’s Prayer several times a day. Jesus’ prayer of “Give us this day, our daily bread,” feels more real than ever.
Yet some businesses are increasingly emphatic over email. “I’m still here!” pleads a shirt I abandoned in a virtual shopping cart. “Don’t forget me! I’m an additional 10% off now!” shouts a tunic from another deserted cart. Yes, I need to stop ditching virtual carts. But the point is, the world still wants me to consume goods regardless of need. Because I no longer have that need for the foreseeable future, I’m wise to resist. Instead, I look to a maxim of St. Teresa of Avila, “Ask for nothing particular in the way of food or raiment, unless there be great need.”
Empathetic people can imagine themselves in other people’s situations, enabling them to write about a variety of characters. But nothing compares to experiencing a situation yourself to give you the ability to tap into those feelings when you write.
Has the pandemic changed your viewpoint in any way that could affect your writing? How?
What has been the hardest character for you to portray in your books? Why?