Be Brave Little One
Stories of Good from the Time of Covid
The world changed in March.
Well, America changed.
The world had already changed.
Collectively, America tends to ignore shifts in global culture. This inevitable shift in our Americana followed our pattern. We ate. We drank. We are followers of Epicurus. We made merry.
We bellied up to bars, ate out at restaurants, worked out amidst strangers in gyms and yoga studios as our kids went to school with all the other children. We watched China shut down with a whispered prayer for them while we ate our popcorn and sat in our darkened movie houses next to strangers. We sent good thoughts to South Korea and lit a candle for Italy as they shut down their countries, as we swiped left and right on our dating apps. And while the aforementioned countries intentionally crippled their economies in a frantic effort to combat an invisible foe, we focused on the foes we could see like getting to the mall before it closed or closing that deal at work.
As we watched, we dismissed our future.
It can’t happen here, not in our cities, not in America.
Maybe this trend was caused by our naive optimism?
Though probably it’s a misplaced sense of American exceptionalism.
Polar opposite and yet equally influential voices for Americans, The NY Times and President Trump finally found common ground. United in placating citizens, bonding in bumbling, public comparisons to the common flu.
Telling us in the immortal words of Douglas Adams, writer of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: “DON’T PANIC.” We weren’t. Not yet. But… now?
We are in uncharted waters. No comparisons are left to be drawn. Not to the flu or to any other historical event. This time is actually different. The combination of medical and economic damage, cloaked in unbridled uncertainty has us all wearing blindfolds at night in a room with no lights. What’s worse, when humans don’t know what to do we usually busy ourselves with inane things. This time though, our American busy-bee syndrome will only make us susceptible to the virus. Instead, it’s forcing us to confront the other viruses we all carried already. Our inherent illnesses of: uncomfortability with introspection, of our difficulty with reasoning out the invisible, and our unwillingness to sit still and not get out and do things, any things. So, now?
Now, we stay home.
Because America? It is closed and will be for sometime.
No more ignoring this reality. On the other side of this when America re-opens, and we will, tens of millions of lives will be changed, in orders of magnitude we can’t yet comprehend. Likely we will simply have to live our way into the massive ramifications.
Loved ones are perishing, jobs are vanishing, savings are being decimated, and businesses disappearing. No one we know is unscathed. No one is immune.
These are facts we are forced to accept. Some say, facts are the building blocks of reality. They are not. They are merely the paint on the walls of reality. Because experiences are really the building blocks of reality.
That’s the funny thing about facts, we choose how we experience them. We choose which ones to paint with and in what quantities. It’s so very easy to read about how and what and why our reality is so fraught with peril right now. But, in truth? It always has been easy to see that peril lays around the corner and in every corner of the world. We are all still a little afraid of the dark, metaphorically speaking, of the unknown literally speaking. We are looking outward and it’s scary and unprecedented in our lifetimes.
Inwardly we may find that it’s not as unprecedented as we may think in some simple but profound ways. We have encountered challenges our whole lives. Now, in that sense it is no different at all. In these wild times, we created this project to help us look inward and uncover what isn’t scary, to look inward and find our strength to overcome challenges, and to give people a chance to look outward and see something else, something good.
The good in the world is as real as ever and many of us have even more time to see it. This project is not to distribute blame, or linger on the uncertainties we are all facing within light of current circumstances.
Instead, this project is about how we all choose to deal with these uncertainties. The abrupt closure of our Americana, our culture, has forced us to make choices. It’s forcing a hard reset on society. Going forward we will all restructure our lives, subconsciously we are creating lists even now, we are prioritizing our lives anew.
We are determining the pieces of our lives we can not live without. We are seeking to foster and grow them with wild abandon, or if not abandon maybe at least with creative dignity and new and hard-fought resourcefulness.
This new abandon creates energy. It’s an energy we find infectious. It gets us through our days as we intend to make the most of these trying times. This is an energy we want to harness, share with loved ones and strangers alike, and encourage others to share with each other. We are writers, creators, and in our line of work we channel our energy by telling stories, creating content that connects human to human and a person to themselves.
This project is a co-op of content, a chance for each of us to share our strength and to overcome our challenges. Despite the social distance, we are all going through this together. This project is about co-creating together, while we are forced to be apart.
In our new normal, we have been strengthened by our families and inspired by members of our communities. We will share with you anecdotes of our experiences. The moments that have given us strength and the people who have inspired us.
In return, we ask you to take the time and share with us moments or people that have given you strength, courage, or inspiration. We will compile selections of your submissions and publish them as a collaborative narrative. Together, we will create a historical record of a trying time, which we can capture and tell as individuals and as a community.
We sincerely invite you to share your positive stories about something meaningful to you inside this strange time in our world. Please feel free to read the sample stories/essays by the two of us, take a look at the disclaimer below, and submit your story or essay.
Thank you for being willing to co-create with us.
& Jack Roberts
By submitting your story or essay you are agreeing that the work is owned solely by you and that you are assigning your rights to the work entirely and in perpetuity over to storylab and to this project. 100% of any proceeds from this project will be donated to CDP's Covid-19 Response Fund. storylab, nor the publishers nor the authors and editors of this book are responsible for any falsification on the part of any submitting writers.