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E - Everyone

the notes of my times with covid-19

by manilla


A/N: Long time no see, I guess. I'm going to try to submit this to an anthology by the end of this month as a short personal narrative, so your feedback is really appreciated!

--

There’s a lot of numbers - an ocean - whether it be the misleading death toll, the hours healthcare workers spend on the front lines, or the cost of hand sanitizer. This is all I see as I read the news and all I hear as my mom reads off the headlines of the day. It feels like you’re stranded on an island, unable to swim.

Yet I am safe at home. Both my parents are with me, working in their offices while I attend to my schoolwork, dawdle off, or paint something new. It’s like a permanent state of weekend, suspended between returning to normal life and descending into something far, far worse.

Welcome to the pandemic of the century. Covid-19, also called coronavirus, takes thousands of lives each day by drowning them in their own bodies. And somehow, I’m living through it. Living through it comfortably as other people suffer and wither away.

I try to ignore Mom’s comments about the homemade mask she’s making, but I can’t help but pay attention and learn. You fold a third of the handkerchief up to the middle, and you fold the rest downward. Flip it over. Fold some more. Then there’s the attachment of the hair ties that I don’t quite seem to get, but Mom does. She makes it, and says she’s ordering more good-quality handkerchiefs online. I smile and go back to my phone.

There’s more things to scroll by - an elderly Asian man getting harassed and beaten on the streets. (It’s not like I’m in fact Chinese, and won’t worry about this at all.) Spring breakers refusing to go home although they’ll infect hundreds. Western and Eastern media condemning or praising the use of masks. And of course, my friends sharing TikToks, some with coronavirus jokes. All of this is regular now, part of a routine struggling to stay in existence. It’s frustrating - why does this seem so normal? Why are we trapped in a state of panic, locked in calm?

My eyes hurt. My screen time has totaled over eight hours again, all from a sad culmination of Zoom meetings, scrolling through social media, and wasting time. I waste precious time without my friends, spending it on lazy hobbies I know I won’t be able to keep up with later.My thoughts jam into one another, one shoving the other down as all of them struggle to surface. Productivity. Pandemic. Privilege. Panic. Is this the reality now, suspended in a chaos and calm that we won’t know the end of? We’re trapped in our bubbles, our lucky, entitled bubbles where we are not essential workers putting our lives and bodies on the line.

I sigh as I shut off my phone with a click. On our island, we’re stuck with numbers we don’t know how to make the best use of. Today, I’ll try to get some friends for a FaceTime session and we’ll talk about whatever little is going on in our lives. For now, before coronavirus floods us all, I can’t help but so ignorantly forget that it does not choose its prey.

When the sharks on the island are hungry, and you are too, shark and man meet in the sea. Yet I am safe at home.


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Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:45 am
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Tawsif wrote a review...



COVID-19 is a relevant topic for writers in the current context. So I appreciate this effort of yours to share your ideas on how it feels to be trapped indoors.

The frustration one feels to be detained inside one's house for so long was nicely portrayed in this piece. You're wasting your time online, and you're aware of it. Yet you can't help yourself because you have nothing else to do. It's perfectly natural.

"We’re trapped in our bubbles, our lucky, entitled bubbles where we are not essential workers putting our lives and bodies on the line."

I particularly liked this line. Most of us are non-contributors in this crisis. That's why we seem to be purposeless, whereas those working on the front line are the ones working with deeper meaning than their own lives. It's something I didn't think of before. Well done.

However, I'd like to see more description in this particular aspect. You have mentioned it in only one sentence. Maybe you can elaborate on how seeing the sacrifice of the doctors and nurses make you feel guilty. That can make this piece more engaging and personal.

"Why are we trapped in a state of panic, locked in calm?"

This sentence seemed a little clashing to me. 'Panic' and 'Calm' are entirely contrasting emotions, so how did they end up in the same sentence? If you had the intention of showing contrast in this sentence, it still seems hazy to me. (This is just a personal thought, Never Mind)

"For now, before coronavirus floods us all, I can’t help but so ignorantly forget that it does not choose its prey."

What do you mean when you say the virus doesn't choose its prey? I didn't get it.

I agree with yellow about the last two paras. You can elaborate them so the readers can understand better what you're trying to mean.

It was a good read for me, manilla. And welcome back. And good luck on your publication in the anthology.

KEEP WRITING.




manilla says...


thank you for your review!!



Tawsif says...


You're welcome.



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Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:15 am
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yellow wrote a review...



hey there!

glad to see that you're back! i read your author's note at the beginning and i'm definitely interested to see where this goes further.

as someone who writes a lot of editorials and columns, i really admire what you're going with here. i love the ocean them that you instantly start with and end with. it really brings your work full circle and it does a lot of justice for the piece. tying that in with the fact of how the media shoves the virus into our faces is genius and needs to be addressed, so with that, i would like to say thank you for writing this.

There’s a lot of numbers - an ocean - whether it be the misleading death toll, the hours healthcare workers spend on the front lines, or the cost of hand sanitizer. This is all I see as I read the news and all I hear as my mom reads off the headlines of the day. It feels like you’re stranded on an island, unable to swim.


my critique with this paragraph, in particular, is the feeling of not being able to swim? what does that feel like? there was always a time in our lives when we didn't know how to swim and we were deathly afraid to be in a body of water. even further - what does it feel like to be alone on that island? personify these two ideas because it would really pack a punch and show the reader what that feeling is like. another thing i would add, which i would say is more along the lines of a stylistic choice, is to research these headlines and add them into the paragraph. i think anytime you refer to the news, you should add at least some form of headline because granted, we know how severe this is, it will even show the reader a further severity of the virus.

Yet I am safe at home. Both my parents are with me, working in their offices while I attend to my schoolwork, dawdle off, or paint something new. It’s like a permanent state of weekend, suspended between returning to normal life and descending into something far, far worse.


i really like the approach you took with this. it sheds a more positive light, because you could either take the positive approach and say that you're safe at home, or go towards a more negative approach, and describe what it's like to be a prisoner of your own home. i think both would work very well with the general tone of this work, but i admire the approach you took. :)

Welcome to the pandemic of the century. Covid-19, also called coronavirus, takes thousands of lives each day by drowning them in their own bodies. And somehow, I’m living through it. Living through it comfortably as other people suffer and wither away.


i'm not entirely sure as if i like the "welcome to the pandemic of the century" portion. i think that it breaks the flow of the work and makes it sound a tad bit awkward. plus, you're welcoming the reader three paragraphs into the piece. i do like when you talk about that "you're living through it." this time period is so historical. this is something that you read out of a history textbook and we are living in it. to me, that is absolutely mind-boggling. go further into depth with this.

I try to ignore Mom’s comments about the homemade mask she’s making, but I can’t help but pay attention and learn. You fold a third of the handkerchief up to the middle, and you fold the rest downward. Flip it over. Fold some more. Then there’s the attachment of the hair ties that I don’t quite seem to get, but Mom does. She makes it, and says she’s ordering more good-quality handkerchiefs online. I smile and go back to my phone.


i dig that you tie in the process of making the mask. it shows us that there is a shortage of surgical masks and proves the severity of the situation. although, what if you put the instructions of how to make the masks in quotes, as if your mother is talking?

There’s more things to scroll by - an elderly Asian man getting harassed and beaten on the streets. (It’s not like I’m in fact Chinese, and won’t worry about this at all.) Spring breakers refusing to go home although they’ll infect hundreds. Western and Eastern media condemning or praising the use of masks. And of course, my friends sharing TikToks, some with coronavirus jokes. All of this is regular now, part of a routine struggling to stay in existence. It’s frustrating - why does this seem so normal? Why are we trapped in a state of panic, locked in calm?


once again, i'd recommend to add the headlines. go further into depth about the extent of the matter at hand because this is such a touchy subject. i don't think that it's necessary to add what you have in parenthesis because it messes with the flow. in a work like this, you want to cater to pathos, logos, and ethos. these are three modes of writing that tap into emotion (pathos), statistics and numbers (logos), and ethics and trust (ethos). when you're talking about numbers, you're using logos to really tap into the facts of the matter. here, you're using pathos to talk about chinese people being assaulted to evoke that emotion of the reader. in other parts, you are using ethos to prove your point even more. sorry for that tangent, but i thought i'd bring this up! though, for this to be a truthful, spot on narrative, using these three modes will help you prove your point even more and gage the interest of the reader. plus, it even shows that you're a skilled writer!

My eyes hurt. My screen time has totaled over eight hours again, all from a sad culmination of Zoom meetings, scrolling through social media, and wasting time. I waste precious time without my friends, spending it on lazy hobbies I know I won’t be able to keep up with later. My thoughts jam into one another, one shoving the other down as all of them struggle to surface. Productivity. Pandemic. Privilege. Panic. Is this the reality now, suspended in a chaos and calm that we won’t know the end of? We’re trapped in our bubbles, our lucky, entitled bubbles where we are not essential workers putting our lives and bodies on the line.


i really love the figurative language in this, when you're talking about the "chaos and calm." use more of it because it makes this narrative even better!

I sigh as I shut off my phone with a click. On our island, we’re stuck with numbers we don’t know how to make the best use of. Today, I’ll try to get some friends for a FaceTime session and we’ll talk about whatever little is going on in our lives. For now, before coronavirus floods us all, I can’t help but so ignorantly forget that it does not choose its prey.

When the sharks on the island are hungry, and you are too, shark and man meet in the sea. Yet I am safe at home.


once again, the island theme that i really love. you also mention your phone a lot, which is also great, because that's really all we have now. we can't leave our houses and it's almost the only means of entertainment and communication we have. one thing i'd like to note about this is i feel like your ending paragraph is very short. could you maybe elaborate further on your theme? or condense the last to paragraphs into one? totally up to you!

once again, for the millionth time, i loved this! but, like with everything else, there is always room for improvement. i hope to get the chance to read more of your work and see you grow!

-yellow




manilla says...


Thank you SO MUCH for putting your time into this stunning review!



yellow says...


i%u2019m so glad i could help!



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Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:57 am
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BhavyaMehta123 wrote a review...



Hi! This is so relatable. Everything you wrote in your article is taking place in my life too. The comparison of our present state with living on an island is what I liked the most. The last lines of the article sum up everything you want to say and they are my absolute favorite lines. You have done a great job. This is well- written and you have expressed your feelings perfectly. I appreciate the fact that you even included the sacrifice of essential workers.
I hope we come out of this soon.
All the best for your future works and Keep Writing!
From: Bhavya




manilla says...


Thank you for your kind words :)





Welcome!




We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind