Cassie Hamer wrote this piece for us a week ago – things have already rapidly changed, however this is absolutely perfect for today as well.
Corona Silver Linings
Last week just as the Covid019 news was becoming more and more dire, I resolved to stop trawling the web for more news of death and devastation and go for a walk in the sunshine.
My kids’ schools were keeping me abreast of current developments via email. Whatever I absolutely needed to know would find its way to my inbox, I decided.
Less than an hour later, I looked up to see a small aeroplane zooming across the sky and releasing a cloud of white smoke behind it. A sky-writer. I stopped to watch. The letter W, then A, then more and more. After five minutes, the message was already starting to drift away, but it was nonetheless clear. WASH HANDS.
I stopped to take a photo. Actually, I just pointed my phone upwards and clicked – the sun was too bright to see the screen – and posted it when I got home. In the middle of my photo, the sun gleamed like a button.
Nice corona, commented one of my friends.
Indeed, I replied, grateful the reminder that ‘corona’ isn’t just shorthand for a virus or a beer brand, it’s also the scientific phenomenon of bright white light that frames the sun. After that walk, having witnessed the corona, I felt a subtle shift in my mental outlook – I have a choice here. I can either dwell in the darkness of death and disruption, or I can start to look for the glimpses of good in this situation and find the #coronasilverlinings.
Every day, I make a mental list of small joys. Here’s today’s:
– the lovely feel and smell of freshly clean hands
– the laughs and tears I’ve shared with my 11 year old daughter as I drive her to and from school to avoid the train
– fewer cars on the road, but more people in the park (keeping an appropriate distance from each other)
– the simplicity of life without any extra-curricular activities
– the availability of more reading time
As an author, you can imagine which one of these silver linings fills me with most joy. It’s undeniable. There’s never been a better time to read. With all sporting and social commitments cancelled, I’m facing a weekend that seems ripe to really crack into my TBR pile and purchase some new ones, too, just to tide me over. Right now, all local and online booksellers are bending over backwards to get books into readers’ hands – another silver lining.
I know exactly what I want to read. I want humour, intrigue, hope, romance, and perhaps a little nostalgia thrown in for good measure. This is the kind of book I write – The End of Cuthbert Close is all about friendship and neighbourliness – and it’s the type of book I want to read.
Here’s my #coronasilverlinings list, and why I’m reading them:
– Grown Ups, by Marian Keyes, for the guaranteed laughs and Irish charm.
– The Good Turn, by Dervla McTiernan, for the plot intrigue and a dose of Cormac Reilly decency
– The Banksia Beach Shack, by Sandie Docker, for all the feels
– Gulliver’s Wife, by Lauren Chater, for the meticulous research and terrific characterisation
– Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild, my favourite book as a child and a classic that still holds up today
What’s on your reading list? What books do you turn to in a crisis?