Turns out pandemonium is pretty boring.
I’m fortunate enough to be working a lot. I’ve got a house to hang out in, with a family inside that is willing to tolerate my presence. And even I have a lot of downtime.
I can only imagine how agonizing it’s been for my single, creative friends who spent too much time inside their own heads before the coronavirus came to town.
It’s been well noted elsewhere that, despite current political sentiments against the liberal arts, it is the arts that is getting us through the isolation of the pandemic: We’re tackling thick books, mastering complicated video games, binge-watching “Parks & Rec” and finally getting around to listening to that new, 17-minute Bob Dylan song.
Our consumption of what we now call “content” is as high as it’s ever been — a Golden Age. And when we emerge, it will be to a creative maelstrom.
You can already see it happening: Musicians are testing new tunes in livestream concerts; playwrights are tinkering with the form; people are pulling out their sewing machines; programmers are coding pandemic-themed video games; artists everywhere are distilling the grains of anxiety and hope that come with a global pandemic into the next iteration of the canon.
And with the bars shut down, even writers are getting around to typing out their masterpieces.
When this whole thing first went down, I imagined what it would have been like if it landed while I was in my mid-twenties, living alone in a French Quarter apartment writing stories in WordStar on a tinkertoy laptop as thick as a pizza box. I do hope I would have run out of booze eventually and gotten down to crafting the sort of work that only extended periods of solitude can incubate.
Shakespeare wrote three plays while the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the 1606. The AIDS crisis in New York City gave us Rent and Angels in America. And plague art is practically its own genre.
Who knows what forms these new creations will take, and where we will be sitting when we consume them.