#WDYTWed (on Thursday): escape or confront?

#WDYTWed (on Thursday): escape or confront?

In the more than ten years that I’ve been writing this blog (the first post was August 28, 2009), one of my favorite things has been interacting with the readers.

That used to happen a lot more. When I started out, I averaged 1,000 new words a day, but in more recent times, I just haven’t been able to do that. I’ve been trying to write more narratives again, but without that, the blog doesn’t tend to provoke many comments…and I miss that. I think my long time readers do, too.

One of those long time readers and amongst my most frequent commenters is Lady Galaxy, who suggested that I write something once a week with the intent of increasing interaction.

It’s a good idea. 🙂

I think the best way to do that is to do one or more polls (which I’ve done throughout the past decade).

I’ve decided to name this series #WDYTWed. WDYT is an internet abbreviation for “What Do You Think?”, and I’m going to do them on Wednesdays. Hopefully, just about every Wednesday…although I didn’t manage to get this out yesterday. I think most of you know, I work in healthcare, so I’ve been very busy. I don’t directly deliver patient care, but I support the people who do. I train doctors & other medical staff, and they are all learning new workflows right now. That’s not just specific to the current pandemic, but there is a big shift to “telehealth”, which requires new skills or honing existing ones.

My question this week has to do with how the current situation is affecting what you read.

I’ve noticed that there seem to be two broad trends.

One is escapism. People want to read (or watch or listen to or play) works that having nothing whatsoever to do with the real world. A lot of people are looking for happy endings. Those people might read, say, cozy mysteries or Regency romances (ones without “consumption”, of course).

On the other hand, some people are choosing works which directly involve plagues & pandemics, or post-Apocalyptic scenarios.

I suspect the latter may surprise some who are choosing escapism. Why would you want more of it?

I think it may have to do with control. If you are reading Stephen King’s The Stand, or Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, or Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (the last can really resonate with social distancing), you can simply close the book (physically or electronically) and walk away for a while to reset your head. It’s sort of like exposure therapy for a phobia…you confront it while there is a control factor that doesn’t exist in spontaneous encounters.

So, what’s your choice?

By the way, this is a time I’m particularly grateful for e-books. We aren’t restricted to just the books we had in our houses when we might have found ourselves unexpectedly at home. We can just download more if we need them.

I’ll be interested to see the answer to this one! I’ll let you know, I’ve sought out resonant works. I rewatched my favorite version of I Am Legend, The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price (available on Prime Video in the USA). However, I’ve also continued reading other books I was reading…the only change for me is the “confront” choice.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you are reading by commenting on this post! If you have other thoughts, those are welcome, too. I haven’t been particularly responsive lately, but I always appreciate seeing those comments!


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9 Responses to “#WDYTWed (on Thursday): escape or confront?”

  1. EJC Says:

    Since I work in respiratory disease, I haven’t had a chance to read anything.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, EJC!

      Thank you for what you do!

      I suspect more people may know what an RT (Respiratory Therapist) does in the next few months…

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I’ve mostly been reading books that were purchased long before the current crisis started. I’ve had a couple of pre-orders magically appear, such as Robert Heinlein’s “The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes” which I haven’t started yet because I already have 5 books going and I have a feeling this one might require more concentration.

    I’ve thought about rereading Albert Camus’ “The Plague,” but I’m thinking I might wait until we’re safely on the other side of this. I’m remembering a previous Kindle First called “Enza” by Kristy James. It’s historical fiction set during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. I downloaded it but like so may Kindle Firsts, it has remained unread. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited. Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading it. My mother’s infant cousin died from what was presumed to be that flu.

    And of course, there’s always Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Masque of the Red Death.”

    I’m sending out positive thoughts for you, your family, and those who read and comment here.

  3. Karen Says:

    Maybe in part also it depends on where we live? Some areas like Seattle where I live have a lot of cases so the reality is huge and some live in areas where there is little virus. For me that means it is in the news every second so I want a break from it. To anyone in health care. Thank you for taking care of us.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Karen!

      The geographic impact would be interesting to know. I’m exposed to information about it constantly (it’s certainly the primary focus at my work), but my shift has been to thematically related works.

  4. Lynn Says:

    I’m re-reading The Great Influenza by John M. Barry.

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