Sometimes it feels as if we are heading toward the end of this lockdown and I am oddly unsettled by the idea of going out, running events or not having a pandemic to excuse my failing to write things. I’m also conscious, though, that ultimately it is going to be writers who define this time we’ve been through.
Usually when you say that history is written by the victors, you’re thinking about the victors. But maybe the key part is that it is written. Writers will shape this mass into something comprehensible. There will be dramas – possibly unfortunately – and there will be blame, possibly unfairly.
We’ve already got the Trump administration trying to write this as a Chinese bio weapon plot, so I’m not saying accuracy will always be a factor, I’m hoping desperate finger-pointing won’t either.
But as we move into this time when the coronavirus makes that very small change from “is” to “was”, I also know that writers are going to be forgotten. Right now the arts are keeping us all going, but when it’s done, the arts will go back to going out of business. Florida has defined the WWE wrestling shows as an essential business, but alongside being madness, that’s also not a recognition of the art of performance, it’s a recognition that someone knows someone with a wallet.
What I hope and think won’t change, what I think has been changed by the coronavirus and will stay, is that writers have discovered just how much we need each other. And writers have discovered just how much we can share. Just how much we actually can do online.
I’ve no interest in the torrent of online dramas about the coronavirus that are coming, and I’ve little interest in the online coronavirus comedies that we already have. But I think that right alongside this recognition of how we need people there is this recognition that we can do so much more than we thought.
This could be all the recognition that writers get, but I’ll take that.