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Reflections on a Pandemic

COVID-19 Reflections on Quarantine

For the past several weeks, most of the world has been in quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus. An experience that will undoubtedly remain with us for a lifetime. Writers Unite! offered our members the opportunity to put their experience during this pandemic into words.

We asked WU! members to write a short essay answering this question:

In twenty years, what will you tell your children, grandchildren, or other loved ones about your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Several writers chose to write a letter but some chose to write an essay on the experience in another form such as a statement of the current situation or a fictionalized account. Regardless, we felt it important that we document this experience in some manner.

Jordan Haines

Dear You,

So, a reader for the letter? Must mean we made it out the other side eventually. I’m glad. No one could have predicted it would be this way.

I was in primary school in 2012 when everyone was scared the world would end, my schoolyard was full of stories of tidal waves burying continents, of earthquakes swallowing us or rains of blood and fire, we were scared, but we lived.

I was in high school in 2016, when every week in class it seemed, someone would be mourning the loss of another idol. Musicians, actors, storytellers, humanitarians, some of the best people who gave us fantasy and love to cling to were suddenly struck down, some far too soon, some far too cruelly, but we lived.

I was in University in 2020, when the world ground to a halt when life as we knew it seemed to end overnight. you think the end of the world would be huge, crashing lighting, screaming, irreparable damage, and destruction. But it wasn’t, sure we knew the disease was out there, we knew people were sick, but it wasn’t here, it wasn’t affecting us, we didn’t listen until it was too late.

The world didn’t end in fire and screaming, it just wheezed, slowed to a stop as one person got into somewhere they shouldn’t have and the sickness bloomed out unhindered. Suddenly it was everywhere, every hour I’d see another country report tens, hundreds, thousands of cases, the numbers changed so quickly we couldn’t keep up, people were sick, people were dying, and we hid in our houses holding each other at arm’s length.

The animals came back because we disappeared. The end of the world at least taught us that the climate crisis was us when we left, the air got clearer, things started living in our place.

Fernando Rojas Santos

Dearest grandchildren:

You’ve probably heard the story, but not from me. Back in 2020, we were all in lock-down, including you when you were very little, definitely the most bizarre experience of all our lives. We could not go out, unless it was extremely necessary, just to prevent the spread of a virus that originated in China and that it was killing thousands everywhere, having to stay home for months. Although it was annoying, I saw this as an opportunity to make changes in my life; I had so much time in my hands, you see, that I thought it would be a waste not to take advantage of it. Though the first two weeks I was working from home and didn’t have much time to do anything else, I was furloughed at work the week after, and then, I did not have any more excuses, so I started getting my hands into the jungle I called garden and started making it more habitable, so you kids could enjoy it at a later date; I made myself face the tens of boxes with memorabilia I had gathered for 32 years and had to bite the bullet so I could throw most of it away; I definitely made myself available to do things with granny and uncle Dan like playing games or watching stuff on telly; and I finally came to terms with my good old writing projects, no excuses this time. I even thought I was given a second chance, after being unemployed the year before and not doing much writing despite the free time, so, basically, although I knew COVID-19 was a terrible thing that happened to many people, I saw the time granted as a blessing in disguise, and finally became the writer I always wanted to be.

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Ash Lee

To My Beloved Family,

If you are reading this, I just wanted you to know that you should live your life with good deeds and actions; live your life being aware of your surroundings and the people you came across; live your life here on Earth as a memorable one.

Years 2019 and 2020 are undoubtedly the years the world has remembered for a lifetime. Those were the years that the world started to change physically — its people and the Earth itself. We may see each passing year as a challenge but those years were the ones that the world began to lock itself from interacting physically with each other. During those times, hardships and sacrifices became visible through the presence of people who are working as front-liners fighting and facing the uncommon enemy. What made the world change was because of a disease — The Corona Virus Disease 2019. A small disease that turned into a pandemic that set the world into lockdown with the countries being in their self-quarantines. Thousands died from the virus, perhaps millions.

It was hard to be in that situation even if you’re only a civilian. You cannot go out directly to buy foods and gather supplies for the family because you have to be always prepared in going out. Here in our country, the Philippines, our government is trying their best to help those who are in dire need and to always comfort the people that this storm will pass soon if we fully cooperate with the rules and regulations only for our own safety and protection.

I hope that you tell this information to your future children and the children after them. For as long as men draw breath, this phenomenon will be remembered.

Yours Truly, Ashley T.

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Lisa Criss Griffin

I am not afraid of COVID19. Concerned, yes. I refuse to live in fear from the plethora of catastrophic theories being propagandized into our everyday lives by various media and online networks who have been pushing a globalist agenda for years. It is also evident to me as an experienced medical professional that information and guidance concerning the COVID19 virus from large, global organizations concerned with the health of human beings everywhere has been faulty at best. From the beginning, the recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and other supposedly benevolent governmental organizations have contradicted what I would expect as best practices for prevention of the spread of a pandemic.

Physicians are being ordered by their employers to list COVID19 as the cause of death, even if it wasn’t the primary cause, for monetary gain. Many hospitals are laying off medical professionals because of the lack of COVID19 patients. Most of the coronavirus patients are recovering without extraordinary measures. Those who get very sick or die are the same vulnerable population groups the familiar seasonal flu targets. 

What if these huge agencies who answer to a small group of powerful people are compelled to admit they “made mistakes” because of the preponderance of contrary evidence? What if this virus was man-made and released globally in order to reduce the vulnerable, surplus population of the world while scaring the survivors into submission to global governance? Is being politically correct more important than seeking out the actual truth here? Are our individual constitutional rights and freedoms still worthy of defense from both domestic and foreign enemies? Have we been played??? Inappropriately harsh lockdowns, the destruction of individual national economies and rights, and rampant fear-mongering may be the greatest political hoax ever perpetrated upon the unsuspecting citizens of our nations. 

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Calliope Njo

April 17, 2020

Dear Brittany,

I’m writing this letter to you to clarify some points about the Covid-19 pandemic. I think they need to be brought up to help you understand. I’m not sure what you know, so bear with me.

Grandma told me that I’m brave when this pandemic started. I wouldn’t say brave, so much as saying I’m trying to believe that everything will work out. Things will become normal again. Going out to run errands or having fun without the gloves and mask, without fear. So it’s not that I’m brave. It’s that I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I try not to watch the news on TV because it only leads to confusion and frustration. Instead, I choose to stay informed by getting information videos online to stay up to date. The more I know, the more I can go about my daily life.

The mandatory lockdown didn’t alter my life because I didn’t go out much and never went to a party or had a big party. My socialization centered around chat rooms with people from all over. The small things in life were a little more difficult, but with modern devices it wasn’t a big deal.

I’ve seen enough pictures online about this pandemic. Don’t let me catch a picture of you laying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of your nose and mouth with an IV line in your arm. I would rather you spend time working to become that accountant.

 Stay happy and healthy. Keep going and stay strong. We will come out of this.

Love,

Your Aunt

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Marion Wood

It started March 2020, when we were all in quarantine,
Not allowed out, schools closed, we couldn’t be seen.
Many not allowed to work, some were furloughed,
For those of us that had to work, our courage had to grow.

Being faced with a virus that could make us unwell,
It was incredibly scary, some their fears they didn’t tell.
The nurses, the doctors, the staff on the front line,
We all worked together at this really hard time.

Some lived in hotels away from their families,
Afraid of bringing it home to their partner and babies.
Some were truly isolated for months from the world,
Having food delivered, staying safe, their stories are now told.

There was mighty Captain Tom and the admirable Margaret,
Tom walked his garden and Margaret had a different target.
Climbing her stairs, like climbing a mountain,
These two raised millions and didn’t let doubt in.

The health care workers who put videos on Facebook,
Tic Tok, the rainbows, You Tube, Zoom, Skype and news groups.
Social media it helped us in our isolation,
The virus changed the world and it made our lives uncertain.

There’s so much we can tell you of COVID -19,
A time like no other, a time, unreal even obscene.
The death toll it rose, by the thousands every day,
And we all prayed for a vaccine to make it go away.

A cough or a symptom bought a week’s isolation,
And ignoring this went against the plan of the nation.
It wasn’t long before health workers were offered the COVID swab test,
It was important for us all to work as we were giving our best.

So, twenty years on, the world has gone far,
Those brave souls of 2020, we know how lucky we are.
Staying at home, unable to go out,
We lived it so you have a life to talk about.
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Marjorie Mallon

Each morning I wake up with a sick feeling in my stomach, that sick feeling is COVID19.

In this scary world we’re inhabiting, there are no guarantees what will happen to our family, friends, or to our livelihoods. 

The UK Lockdown came too late; the death toll screams in retribution. Under Government Lockdown rules we must remain at home, venturing out for one walk a day, essential food shopping, or medical emergencies. 

No cute visitors grace our household apart from a ginger cat. I name him Butternut, he caresses my legs, purring. Cats wander freely, we don’t – we are caged animals – we disinfect, wash our hands, and wait.

The coronavirus threatens the weakest – my husband with high blood pressure, my youngest daughter – the asthmatic. Somehow, even when my husband falls ill, he recovers. With no testing, it is uncertain if he’s had the virus. 

The strain of isolation makes us argue, swear, eat, and drink excessively. 

We discuss our hopes and fears, embrace the positive; bake cakes, keep fit, and paint our nails. My poor husband is the lone male, we offer to paint his nails too. He declines! Our youngest daughter Georgina starts a TikTok channel with short, funny clips. I write COVID19 related stories – my usual genre – fantasy seems alien in this strange reality.

Fear becomes too real when my mother waits for forty-five minutes on the 111 number. It is not COVID19. Her face is infected with an insect bite. My ninety-one-year-old father’s voice cracks. He calls himself a coward for not accompanying her to hospital. Sad words that I’ll never forget.

Mum is safe at home now, away from COVID19.

I pray when this is over, we will laugh about that bloody insect. 

In the meantime, we Skype and hope.

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Hayley Sawyer

My dear, beloved children,

I lived through a truly terrifying and hard time twenty years ago in the first half of the year 2020, and that was the Covid-19 pandemic, otherwise known as Coronavirus. It was a flu-like virus, the main symptoms were fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue, and that was if you were symptomatic, meaning you could tell if you were feeling differently than you normally would when you were healthy. 

I, for the majority of the time we were in lockdown, stayed home; I didn’t leave except to pay for my medications at the pharmacy or to walk the dog. I was living with my parents at the time, and I’ll tell you why that was at 26 years old another night. I didn’t have any symptoms for the duration of the lockdown, so I was very lucky. I didn’t lose any loved ones. But many people died. 

The day the pandemic was over, when our great country was finally done opening up again, I hugged my parents so tightly, for human contact within six feet was prohibited before this point.

We stayed obedient and strong throughout the whole lockdown, we weathered the storm until the end. It wasn’t always easy, but we did our part to stop the spread. 

I love you both so much. Learn this lesson and pass it on. You may save lives someday, just as your mother once did. God bless you. 

Love,

Mother

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Eva Brown

Dear VIRUS...
 
Oh COVID-19 YOU VIRAL THING!
LOOK AT HOW MUCH DESTRUCTION YOU BRING?
OUR SCHOOLS OUR SHOPS THEY'VE ALL BEEN  LOCKED DOWN.
WE'RE ALSO NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE OUT OF TOWN.
 YOU DON'T KNOW THE PAIN AND TROUBLE YOU'VE CAUSED.
WE LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AND WOW WE'RE IN AWE.
JUST THINK IT ALL STARTED OUT WITH A BAT.
WHO PASSED IT TO HUMAN AND NOW THAT IS THAT.
 THE GRIEF THAT WE FEEL NOW, IS UNREAL.
WE WISH IT WERE DREAM BUT IT SEEMS NOW IT'S REAL.
 
SO NOW WE MUST THINK, ABOUT WHERE TO STAND.
WHEN TO GO OUT, OR IF TO EAT OUT?
ALL OF THESE DAILY THINGS, WERE THE NORM.
AND NOW WE ALL MUST BE WELL INFORMED.
 
HOW GOOD WILL IT FEEL TO DIP MY FEET IN THE SEA
TO SEE THE SWIMMERS, SURFERS GLIDING PAST ME
 IT IS OUR DESIRE TO REACH UP MUCH HIGHER.
TO LIFT ALL THE LIMITS AND OPENING MYER!
DRIVING AND FLYING ANYWHERE THAT WE PLEASE.
 
 BUT I THINK RIGHT NOW WE'LL JUST WAIT AND SEE.
COVID, OH COVID, WE'RE BROUGHT TO OUR KNEES.
NOW WE WILL TRY TO CREATE A VACCINE.
TO TRY TO DEFEAT YOU, YES THAT IS OUR AIM.
WE KNOW DEEP WITHIN US, TWO CAN PLAY AT THIS GAME.
WE'RE SMART, WE'RE SAVY WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE FACING
WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGIES AND CONTACT TRACING.
 
SO STAY SAFE, STAY HOME AND DO CHECK ON LOVED ONES
EVEN TO CHECK IF THEY NEEDED SOME WET ONES.
SO NOW AS WE PRACTICE OUR PERSONAL HYGIENE.
 OUR MASKS THAT WE DON UPON EVERY OUTING.
WE KNOW 1.5METRES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING HELPS.
TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD THAT THE WHOLE WORLD HAS FELT.
 
SO COVID, OH COVID YOU VIRAL THING.
US HUMANS WON'T GIVE UP WE WON'T LET YOU WIN.
 
@eva brown

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Carolyn Brissett

For Dominic Harper: To be opened on his 21st Birthday

Darling Dominic,

As I write, you sleep in your carrycot by my side. There are just the two of us now, in our silent house by the sea, guest cabins long empty. So – starting a new page in my plague journal – I will record a true account of how your life began.

Seemingly endless, today has still been too short. It started at dawn as your mother shook me awake, blood spraying through her teeth as she fought for breath. Before slipping to the floor, she gasped “Nick. He won’t wake up!” Groggy with sleep, I ripped my phone from its charger and pressed the all-too-familiar emergency number.

“It’s Tessa Harper again,” I snapped.” My daughter-in-law caught the ‘rona and collapsed. Send someone quickly to the Cove Inn, as I must get the baby.”

Not waiting for a reply, I rushed into the front bedroom, gasping in relief as a hungry cry greeted me. Only a day old, you knew what you wanted, nuzzling my long-dry breasts. A few minutes later, you were sucking hungrily on your bottle when the EMTs knocked on the door.

Heart aching, I dared not go upstairs and risk further contagion, with you in my arms.”Please,” I begged, “check the other bedroom as well, where my son sleeps.” A few minutes later, they walked back into the kitchen, slumped shoulders telling me what I least wanted to hear.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Harper,” said the woman, carefully standing a safe twelve feet away. On her wrist, a fresh V (for vaccinated) pulsed red, still inflamed from the tattoo needles. “Your son passed during the night, and your daughter-in-law went as we put her on oxygen. There was nothing we could do.”

Numb, I nodded as though I understood.

“The inn will be burned tonight, of course. I will bring down whatever I find for the baby and some clothes for you. Please tell me what else you need that can withstand gamma blast sanitization. The Survivor Bus will pick you up within the hour.”

And now, my precious grandson, we are waiting for transport to The Island – two remnants of the Second Spike.

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Paula Shablo

Dearest Little Ones,

You were too little to appreciate the great danger we faced in the early months of the year 2020. There was a lot going on that we, the grown ups, kept from you for your own peace of mind.

I can’t claim we did a good job with that. Children see and hear so much more than we give them credit for, even really young children.

I imagine you remember things we didn’t think about.

Did you hear Mom and Dad fight about money? People lost their jobs, and it was a scary time. Your parents worried about being able to keep a roof over your heads, food in your bellies and clothes on your backs. These are things parents worry about all the time, anyway, but 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic made the worries so much more urgent.

Did you miss going to the park or the playground? Large gatherings of people could spread the disease quickly, and your parents wanted you to be safe. I know you wanted to go to McDonald’s and visit your friends in their Play Place. I know you wanted a birthday party. I know you wanted your friend to sleep over. But we wanted you to be safe.

Did you miss going to see Grandma? Did you miss her big hugs and sitting on her lap while you shared stories and dreams? Well, Grandma (that’s me!) missed that too. That was the worst part of the whole thing for Grandma!

I know it was hard for all of us not to go visit and play with friends and go to school. But, because we all stayed at home and practiced social distancing and washed our hands over and over again, things got better.

Now you can visit me again. Hurray!

Love,

Grandma

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D. A. Ratliff

Dearest one:

I was delighted to hear from you and your question regarding my experience during the pandemic of 2020. I find it interesting that you are choosing to write an article about that particular pandemic year as we have had several since then. COVID-19 was different, however. It paralyzed the global community.

The virus outwitted us. A deadly virus that couldn’t make up its mind who it wanted to kill and how it wanted to accomplish its task. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, although the authorities suspected it came through a “Wet” market in China selling live animals for food. A bat. That was the culprit at first. However, eventually, we learned that the virus came from a lab in Canada affiliated with a lab in the Chinese city designated ground zero. Was it a lab accident or a deliberate act that released the virus?

The political intrigue only added to the chaos. Politicians across the globe using the pandemic to improve their positions of power. Thankfully, some stepped up and became the leaders we hoped they would be. However, you wanted to know about my experience.

Everything was off-kilter. Walking through the grocery store was surreal, a Salvador Dali painting surreal. We were always conscious of the virus. People in masks, some people not, and the instinct was to move away from them. Every object touched felt tainted. We washed our hands constantly.

The worst thing for me was that the people that I cared deeply for were far away. I feared for them more than myself, for their families and friends. I suffered through the impact of the virus on my best friend, who survived after becoming infected.

We lived through that time by trusting each other and trusting our faith. For me, all I needed.

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Thanks to Writers Unite! member Caroline Giammanco, an English teacher and author of three true crime novels, who gave her quarantined students this assignment and passed on the suggestion.

Writers Unite! Tips on Writing



Please note: the images used are free-use images and do not require attribution.

Selvan Muruvan: HIDE-AWAY

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.

HIDE-AWAY

By Selvan Muruvan

It's been five decades, my
Love... 

Last, we
Lay down on the make-shift 
Bed, of
Melon leaves and
Haystack. 

Honey-glazed
Memories of the 
Supine, 
Succulent
Fruit of your
Strawberry 
Lips. 

Music of your 
Breath beneath the 
Everglades, at 
Twilight. 

Melancholy song of the 
Lone
Hummingbird, 
Infused with the 
Twit-Twitter 
Whispers, of your nervous
Heart. 

Chuckling 
Stream 
Babbling between the 
Bullrushes and 
Hemlock. 

Dragonflies' aloof
Buzzing on 
Glistening 
Rocks. 

Sixteen, you were and
I, a 
New 
Man. 

Gazing now at our 
Hideaway~
You are long 
Gone. 

Secret cave overrun by 
Greenest 
Carpet of 
Mother
Nature, 
Sparks my 
Soul to be 
Young
Again. 

S. M. ~04/2020

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Please visit Selvan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selvan.muruvan.7

Kenneth Lawson: Passing

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.

Passing

By Kenneth Lawson

It was there in the closet. 

Where it had been for years.

But now, it seemed surreal. 

The old violin case sat on a high shelf, tucked away many years. Music once played on the instrument inside flooded his mind. It had been years since he had heard the last musician to play this violin, his grandfather, the legendary violinist Raymond J. Reynolds.

His mind wandered back over the decades, flooded with the distant memories and family lore that he had heard since he was barely more than a baby. His grandfather learned to play the violin as a child, and by the time he was a teenager, he was playing sets with a wide variety of musicians and styles. Over the years, he had worked with musicians from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, to many others. He was often a featured violinist with symphony orchestras, and in the later years of his career, headlining concerts. 

Grandpa’s breakthrough had been when he had taken a classic Miles Davis tune and arranged it for the violin. He remembered the night his grandpa premiered the piece. He was standing backstage watching. The concert was over, grandpa had taken his final bows, and the stage went dark.

Then a spotlight came on. His grandfather stood at center stage, accompanied not by the orchestra but by a pianist, bass, saxophonist, and drummer. He started playing. The audience gasped as they recognized the piece. From that moment on, “The other Miles” became his moniker. A new phase in his career began that night. He recorded several hit records of his original compositions and arrangements.

But that was another lifetime ago. In the last few years, arthritis and old age began to take their toll on him. It had been years since grandpa had played the violin as his fingers were too gnarled and stiff to play. He continued to teach and lecture and compose, but even with computer programs to play the notes for him, it wasn’t the same as hearing the notes coming from his own hands.

Grandpa spent the last few years in a nursing home requiring around-the-clock care. His mind was slowly leaving without him, but somewhere in the depths of it, the music always found its way out. He had insisted when he went into the home, on bringing a turntable and small speakers with him. His record collection was vast, so he kept his favorite records with him. When we visited, we would bring a new record or two for him to enjoy. The staff was wonderful, since he couldn’t handle the records or the turntable any longer, always taking special care when they played them for him. His nurses often repeated his favorite mantra, “The only music worth listening to was on vinyl.” 

He opened the case and lifted the violin from its velvet resting place. The feel of the instrument in his hands seemed natural, and it was as he had played in his younger days. But he knew he was never as good as his grandfather, and he never would be. He could play the notes and make the noise, but he couldn’t make the music. His sister, on the other hand, could make the music. She had played with their grandpa in her younger years. There were tapes and videos of them playing, but she had retired from playing many years ago.

The violin itself looked almost new. Except for the small amount of dust that had managed to creep inside the case over the years. He knew it would need new strings and be re-tuned.

And Now.

And Now? 

Hell, he didn’t know. 

His grandfather had passed quietly in the night, a favorite record playing softly in the background as he drifted off to sleep.

The minster called him not long after his grandfather passed and asked that he bring the violin to display at the funeral next to the casket. His sister had requested it. He replaced the violin in its case and took it to the funeral home.

~~~

Four days later, he sat in the front pew, Linda, and her family next to him, as the room began to fill. His grandpa was widely known and respected in music, as well as in business and life. He had expected a large turnout. His grandpa had told him before his mind deserted him completely. When you live to almost 100 years old, you meet a few people along the way.

The late Raymond J. Reynolds lay in the open casket in front of the church, dressed in his finest tuxedo. An outfit most had seen him in one time or another in one of his concerts.

He had expected to see the violin on display next to the casket. It wasn’t there. He was about to ask Linda when the minister took his place behind the pulpit.

The minister began the service with a prayer, then began to talk about his grandfather’s life. As he listened to the minister tell about his years as a struggling musician, his rise to popularity and influence on future generations of musicians of all varieties, he forgot about the violin.

 As the service was winding down, the minister paused as if he was stalling for time. Finally, he spoke.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a special tribute to Mr. Reynolds. Ms. Linda Reynolds, Raymond’s granddaughter, would like to play a piece on her grandfather’s violin to honor him with his violin.”

He realized that Linda had left the pew a few minutes before, crying. He thought she had gone to compose herself, but now he knew why. She walked onto the stage with their grandfather’s violin.

It had been years since she had played, yet she stood in front of several hundred people wearing her best black evening gown and playing his violin. She played their grandfather’s most famous pieces and some of his favorites and played as well as he had. There was not a dry eye in the place when the minister said final prayers and dismissed the service. 

He met her in the back of the church after everyone had left. She handed him the violin. “Thank you for dropping this off here. It was easier. The minister offered to take it to the restorer for me. They were kind enough to replace the strings and get it ready very quickly for me. I wanted to surprise you.”

He handed her the violin. “No, you keep it. You deserve this far more than I do. All I ask is that you keep playing the music.” He couldn’t say more.

A thousand other thoughts crowded his mind as he tried to explain to himself why he could never play as Linda could. She had inherited his talent and would carry their grandfather’s legacy forward.

He would always have the music.

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Please visit Kenneth on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kennethLawson/ and on his website: http://kennethlawson.weebly.com/

Reedsy Blog: How to Become an Editor: A Guide for Beginners

Writers Unite!’s Featured Blog Series!

Writers Unite! is fortunate to have among its members, many bloggers, and essayists who write content about the writing process or their author’s journey or both. We will be posting their articles for your information and enjoyment. Please read and comment, visit the author’s website, blog, or Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and share!

We are pleased to offer this blog article submitted to us by the freelance writers on the Reedsy Blog: They felt this would be a good piece to share with the Writers Unite! members. Thanks to them and hope they share more terrific and informative articles about writing.

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How to Become an Editor: A Guide for Beginners

Are you the kind of person who can glance over a block of text and spot all the typos immediately? Do you get a special kind of satisfaction from feeding back on friends’ essays? Have you always loved literature and dreamt of working with words, words, words (as Hamlet once said)?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then you might be the perfect candidate to learn how to become an editor — and maybe even build a business out of it.

Of course, editing for a living is no picnic, and it takes quite a bit of work just to get started. But if you’re passionate, determined, and truly care about improving the written word, editing could be the career of a lifetime for you! Read on to find out what an editor does, which factors determine editing success, and how to become an editor in six simple steps.

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About Reedsy

Reedsy was founded in the summer of 2014 by Emmanuel Nataf, Ricardo Fayet, Vincent Durand and Matt Cobb. Since then, we’re proud to have built a network of world-class publishing professionals and helped produce over 10,000 books.

As you immerse yourself into our ecosystem, you will discover that Reedsy can help at every stage of your publishing journey. Whether you start writing with the Reedsy Book Editor, or polish your prose with assistance from the marketplace, we can provide the support you need to publish your story.

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Please note all images and logos referring to Reedsy.com are the sole property of Reedsy.com. The images used as prompts or illustrations are free-use images and do not require attribution.

Caroline Giammanco: Wings of Glory

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

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Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.

Wings of Glory

By Caroline Giammanco

Enveloped in a sea of blue, the jet hurtled through the bright sky in a hurry to get to its destination. Tom Harper gazed out the window. Below him, city skylines and checkerboard farm fields passed by. Major cities looked like dots. Tom was amazed by just how much farmland was out there. He’d lived in the city for so long that he’d lost track of the agricultural base of the country. Little houses speckled the view, and farm-to-market roads crisscrossed the landscape. 

I can’t help but wonder about the people down there. Who are they? Are they happy with their lives? Would we be friends if geography didn’t separate us? Are they celebrating the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one? People from all different walks of life are going on about their days as we fly overhead. Do they ever think about who I am flying above them? I’ve stood on the street by my office building and stared up at the flights taking off from La Guardia, wondering about the people in those thin metal tubes. Flight still amazes me. 

The clanking of a cart brought Tom’s attention back to the flight he was on. The monotonous hum of the plane engines droned in the background as flight attendants made sure passengers were happy with their meals and beverages. The food was incredible, which surprised Tom. It certainly wasn’t the normal bag of peanuts he was used to on commercial flights. 

With radiant smiles, attendants checked on each guest, doling out pillows and warm blankets. The gentle flutter of movement as the attendants went about serving the needs of passengers was comforting. Real care was given each member of the journey, and Tom had never seen an entire flight receive first-class treatment before. 

I knew the perks would be good, but this goes beyond what the company rep told me. Everything from the friendly flight attendants to the food is amazing. New hires usually don’t get this kind of treatment, at least not in the jobs I’ve had in the past. I think this is going to be a good gig, even if it’s a long flight. Thank God there’s plenty of leg room. 

At 6’6” Tom Harper needed the extra room. He stretched his lanky legs and yawned. He gladly accepted one of the pillows and a warmed blanket as the attendant stopped at his seat. He was tired. 

While exciting, the unexpected string of events he was experiencing took a toll on him. On the one hand, Tom had an overwhelming sense of well-being. This was the most important job he’d ever taken, and he knew he was in the right place doing the right thing. On the other hand, he mulled over the whirlwind events from the past twenty-four hours and couldn’t fight off a sense of guilt. 

Just yesterday morning, Tom’s biggest concern was dropping his daughters, Lily and Hannah, off at school on time. His oldest had lost her homework from the night before, and his youngest had insisted on wearing her Cookie Monster slippers as shoes. It was chaos getting them fed, dressed, and out the door in one piece. Thanks to Michelle’s new work schedule, Tom was responsible for getting the girls to school and picking them up in the afternoon. He smiled. He didn’t mind the extra time with them. He loved being a dad, in fact. A wistfulness fell over him as he thought about the spring break plans he had with them. He was going to take them fishing at the family cabin in the Adirondacks. 

A dinging bell drew Tom’s attention to Mrs. Swenson in seat 4C. A sweet woman with a southern drawl, she asked for ear phones. The flight offered a variety of movies to break the tedium of the trip, and she’d chosen an old western to occupy her. Tom overheard her tell the blonde stewardess that she’d once met John Wayne. Mrs. Swenson became animated as she retold the memory. She was especially pleased when the attendant told her that she, too, had met John Wayne. 

Looking up and down the aisle, Tom noticed the flight was surprisingly full. Not a seat was vacant, and Tom marveled at his fellow passengers. 

This wasn’t what I expected. I’m impressed by the diversity on board this flight. I don’t know why, but I thought we’d all be a little more homogenous. 

People of all races, ages, previous professions, and political beliefs were aboard. Tom chuckled. 

Not that long ago, given today’s divided political climate, you’d never catch Democrats and Republicans getting along so well. 

Two rows ahead of him, proving his point, was a smartly dressed twenty-something having a charming discussion about fine art. This wouldn’t be unusual, except her companion was a man in his sixties who made his fortune as a venture capitalist. It was unlikely, before their addition to the company payroll, that they’d have been so fond of one another. 

Across from Tom was another odd pairing, at least from outward appearances. Sharice Davis, liberal councilwoman from the rougher neighborhoods of her hometown, talked and laughed about grandbabies with the man sitting next to her. Mark Perry, a red-headed police officer with years of experience patrolling Sharice’s same neighborhoods, told Sharice how sorry he was he’d arrested so many young people in her area. In reality, they weren’t all that different from her beloved grandsons. They’d just made bad choices and hadn’t had opportunities. He held her hand as he learned that Sharice still carried wounds from the loss of her brother. His death had fueled riots that made national headlines. Two days ago, both Sharice and Mark might have seen each other as adversaries. Now, common ground and empathy were apparent on their faces. Family meant a great deal to both. 

Tom’s thoughts returned to Michelle and the girls. He winced. 

By taking this assignment, do they think I’ve turned my back on them? Will they hate me? Will they ever understand that I had to take this opportunity? How afraid were the girls when I got on this flight and left them standing outside their school? Is Michelle angry with me that I accepted this job without talking with her first? She didn’t even get to see me before I signed the contract and boarded. 

Visions of his girls crying in the rain as he never arrived in the parent pick-up lane at Hunter Grove Elementary stung. Those wouldn’t be the only tears they cried. 

Yesterday’s storm had been fierce. Lightning flashed non-stop, and the streets were overcome with floodwaters. Driving conditions that afternoon were hazardous, and Tom was thankful he’d been the one crossing those treacherous intersections and not Michelle. 

Why do people have to drive like idiots when it rains? Don’t they know speeding up doesn’t get them home faster in those conditions? It just makes it more dangerous for everyone else.

Well, with his new job, neither he nor the other new members of the company would have to worry about their safety. No, they’d be on security detail for others, and there was plenty of worry involved with the job description. 

I still don’t understand why I was chosen out of all the other candidates out there. I mean, I’ve always worked hard, and I’ve tried to be a good man, a good husband, father, and friend. I never thought I’d be offered a chance at a job like this, though. 

Tom’s thoughts were interrupted by the brunette flight attendant who asked if she could get him anything—another beverage, perhaps a magazine?

Her name tag said “Christine.” That was Tom’s mother’s name. She’d have liked this Christine. Her warm smile and soothing nature would have appealed to Tom’s sweet mother. Beneath Christine’s name, Tom saw the company logo: Guardian Angel Express. As she handed him his soda, her right wing brushed his arm. 

Christine smiled sweetly and said, “Don’t worry, Tom. I know you’re nervous. You’ll make a great guardian angel. And your wife and daughters, they’re in good hands. The Big Guy takes special care of his employee families.”

Peace filled Tom, and he relaxed. Important work was ahead, and soon he’d be wearing his own wings of glory. 

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Please visit Caroline on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009880805237

Paula Shablo: Getting to “The End” (Writing Conundrums)

Writers Unite!’s Featured Blog Series!

Writers Unite! is fortunate to have among its members, many bloggers, and essayists who write content about the writing process or their author’s journey or both. We will be posting their articles for your information and enjoyment. Please read and comment, visit the author’s website, blog, or Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and share!

Getting to “The End” (Writing Conundrums)

By Paula Shablo

I don’t know that my recent lack of motivation to finish my book could accurately be termed “writer’s block,” since I have, in the meantime, written several other things.

I have the ending plotted out in my head, and I’ve made copious notes in my notebook working out the “how to get there from here” logistics.

I am at that point in writing where I always seem to land as a project nears the end—I don’t want to be done with the story, so I stall.

Logically, I know I won’t be finished. Far from it. I will be reading and re-reading, looking for spelling errors, plot holes, continuity.

In my process, a lot of the above editing will get addressed before I actually write the finale. It all has to knit together, and sometimes beginning to end doesn’t mesh on the first try.

I dislike re-writing endings. Since I don’t always know the ending when I begin—I am a “seat of the pants” writer, for the most part, especially with stories that exceed 50,000 words—I often have to address the beginning and middle of my story before I can complete it.

So, I am reading. Brushing things up. Changing whole scenes. Adding and subtracting. Re-doing research, just to make sure I have any historical references correct.

This is important—I once published a work with a very tiny scene referencing a baseball game between the Yankees and the Braves, who don’t even play in the same league! Embarrassing! Of course, I corrected it, but oh! My credibility!

Sure, I could claim alternate universe, but…lie, lie, lie. I goofed! I learned a valuable lesson. Check, re-check and check again.

This doesn’t ensure I will never goof again—undoubtedly, I will. I am not perfect, or even close.

Having confessed my Achilles heel—reluctance to reach “The End”—I’m curious: Do any of you writers here have the same writing issue? I’d love to read your comments!

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For more of Paula’s stories and articles please visit her blog:

Penz -o- Paula

Authors’ Words: Anais Nin

Anais Nin

Anais Nin was a 20th century diarist.  She began what became her life-long work of art in 1914 at the age of eleven and kept writing until her death 63 years later in 1977. 

Nin’s diary focused on her interior life and became the chronicle of her search for fulfillment in what was often for women a painfully restrictive culture. 

 Anais Nin was born in France in 1903.  Her Cuban-born parents lived as genteel artists, mainly in Paris and Spain.  In a blow that affected her all of her life, Nin’s composer father, Joaquin Nin, abandoned his wife and children, forcing them to set sail for a new life America.  While on board the ship young Nin wrote a letter to lure her father back to the family.  This letter was never sent, but it was the beginning of her famous diary.

While living a dual life in New York and Los Angeles during the 1960s, Nin made the risky decision to allow her diary to be published, though she chose to remove the most private details of her romantic relationships.  The first installment, published in 1966, was titled The Diary of Anais Nin and it was an immediate success.  Though it was a profoundly personal work, it hit a universal vein of experience — especially with women.  Nin found herself, then in her sixties and seventies, playing the part of an international feminist icon. 

While Nin traveled the world speaking about her writing and meeting fans, subsequent volumes of her edited diary were published.  They covered the period up through the end of her life and totaled seven volumes.  Finally, in 1977, Nin died of cancer in Los Angeles with Rupert Pole by her side.

Before she died it was Nin’s decision to have her early diaries published, as well as erotica she’d written in the 1940s.  As a result, Delta of Venus, Little Birds, and Nin’s childhood diary titled Linotte were released, as well as three volumes of The Early Diary of Anais Nin.  Also, in a decision that generated much controversy, Nin asked Rupert Pole to publish the “secret” parts of her previously-released diaries.  The first “unexpurgated” diary is titled Henry & June; it includes the material removed from Nin’s first published diary and was made into a feature film.  Other unexpurgated diaries include Incest, Fire, Nearer the Moon, Mirages, and Trapeze.

During her 63 years of highly personal and yet ultimately public writing, Anais Nin forged a style of expression that befits the 21st century.  She seemed to foresee our modern era of Internet communication, even wishing for what she called a “café in space” where she could keep in touch with others.  Nin believed that consciousness is a stream of images and words that flow from us as long as we live, and something to be shared. 

Resources:

https://theanaisninfoundation.org/bio

Jenny Booker: The Care and Cure Toy Shop

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

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Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require

The Care and Cure Toy Shop

By Jenny Booker

“Mummy!!” she heard him shouting and saw her little man in tears running into the kitchen to receive a warm gentle hug.

He refused to let go for a while but soon pulled away blinking back the tears.

“What is it sweetheart?” she asked worriedly.

“My teddy,” he whimpered.

“Yes?” she said with a smile, relieved he had not injured himself, and wiped away the tears.

“He has a rip on his bot bot,” he stuttered.

“Oh no, not a rip on his bottom?” She sighed.

“Yes, Mr. Geoffrey had an accident and now he is broken,” he cried.

“Well, let’s have a look,” she said, taking his hand and letting him lead her to the scene of the crime.

Yes, Mr. Geoffrey had a big tear and her sewing skills weren’t great. The bear was a jack-in-a-box and was very old. It belonged to her grandma, and he was passed on for generations. But he didn’t work as the springs were so old, but he loved it as it was and never knew what it could do anyway.

She took a while to think, then remembered a new shop in the next town had recently opened. That was like a toy hospital — maybe they should pay them a visit. She could see if they could fix it and maybe grab some last-minute Christmas shopping over there too.

Bundling up in the car not long afterwards, she drove to the town hoping it wouldn’t be so busy as it’s the lead up to Christmas, but managed to park quickly and was soon walking up the high street.

His tiny hand grasped tightly as they finally got to the shop — and both stared for a while looking at the window display before them.

A beautiful Christmas scene was of a big carousel going around, with big snowy trees next to it that were decorated with pretty coloured balls. Glittery nutcrackers glistened as the twinkly lights surrounded the window above them.

As they walked through the door, it rang, alerting the shopkeeper who was busy polishing a doll’s shoe.

He looked up and took off his glasses smiling.

“Hello, and welcome to Care and Cure Toy Shop. Please take a look around. The toys here need a new home, and if you need any help please do let me know,” he said.

“Hello, actually we were wondering if you could fix a toy?” she hoped.

“Why of course — we do fix any toy too,” he beamed.

She took out the teddy from the bag and placed him on the desk.

“Can you see he has a hurt bot bot?” the little boy asked.

She smiled and picked him up so he could see better.

“Ah yes, I see.” He lifted it up and looked at it for a while. “Does the spring work too?” he asked.

“It hasn’t for a very long time,” she sighed.

“Leave it with me — I won’t be too long. You’re welcome to sit and have a hot chocolate or come back in five to ten minutes.”

She looked around the corner thinking the shop was small, but the L-shaped shop was in fact big! At the far end was a hot-drink vending machine with a small sofa next to it. A bookcase with small cushions next to it looked like a magical reading nook. Then many shelves with all sorts of toys filled the walls — some whizzing around with the feeling of pure delight of working and being used.

“All these toys were broken or donated to us,” a lady said appearing next to her, dressed as an elf. “Hello, I’m Maddie. I help out every time I can,” she quickly continued after seeing her shocked look.

Her son was already at the bookcase, so she and Maddie sat down and grabbed a drink.

“This place is lovely,” she said, sipping on the warm hot chocolate.

“I know, it’s amazing what he does and we hope more people will come by as nowadays people chuck broken toys and replace them,” she said sadly.

“I’ve never seen such a place,” she said as she looked around to see a bubble machine started, and her son squealed with joy popping them.

After a little while, she wandered back to see how he was getting on and heard him talking to someone — but no one was there.

He was holding a red screwdriver and was tightening up the box while apologising to it for being upside down, then suddenly the teddy nodded and stretched its arms!

No, that was impossible. Its arms were stiff, and tiredness was making her see things, she thought.

“There,” he said, putting the screwdriver down. “How does that feel?”

“I feel like new,” it said in a deep voice.

“Urm?” she managed to stutter.

“Oh hello — all done, was just about to get you. I have stitched him up and also replaced the spring for you,” he said happily, not bothered or any hint of embarrassment at what she might have seen.

Looking at him, then the teddy, she needed to sit back down.

“Are you alright mummy?” Her son tugged at her trousers, then ran to the counter jumping up and down.

“He fixed, he fixed — mummy?” he asked.

“Yes hun look,” she said as she picked him up and both saw that the teddy was repaired.

“Good as new,” he said.

“Thank you very much,” she managed to say, confused, and slowly paid the man as if in a trance and wanting to know and see more.

On finally leaving, she turned around to see him putting the screwdriver away in a big black box chuckling to himself.

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Please visit Jenny on her blog: https://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

WU! On Dr. Paul’s Family Talk

WU! On “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” Podcast!

If you missed Writers Unite! on “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Friday, here is the Podcast of the segment.

Join host Paul W. Reeves and WU! Admin Deborah Ratliff as they discuss the topic, “ Story Structure”.

Story Structure

If you would like to listen to the show in its entirety (and it’s a lot of fun), click on this Podcast link for Friday’s show!

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Dr. Paul’s Family Talk 11-15-19

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