how will we know?

Packing up the novel draft that I’ve decided to abandon, I found draft copy for a Prologue I had once considered. It was one of the darlings that got killed off early, but I never stopped loving it anyway.

A major event in the book concept was a category-five hurricane hitting the Gulf coast of Florida. The prologue was a warning about the calm eye and how it can lull you.

In the post-Covid-19 world, how will we know when it’s safe to gather at weddings, funerals, graduation ceremonies, sports events, the theater, and extended family suppers again? How will this pandemic change us?

For the record, here’s the prologue (written and discarded) for Eye of the Storm:

Anyone who has ever lived through a major hurricane knows about the eye of the storm. The eye is beautiful, alluring and extremely dangerous. If you don’t understand where you are, the eye will fool you. You will think the preternatural calm signals that the storm is over, that you are safe.

And then, with no time to escape, a wall of wind and water from the back side of the storm will rise up like hell and death itself. You will run, swim, cling to a roof top, scream and go made for a time. If you survive the roar, the wave, the snakes in the water, the smell of decay, and the fear of your own death, a morning will come when you will imagine a dove on your shoulder bearing an olive branch in his mouth.

That dove is your life handed back to you, your fresh start.

elizabeth j. westmark

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