WE PAW Bloggers E-zine — Issue 43

What we writers, poets, authors, and artists of all types do reflects the joys and turmoils in our societies in which we create. We creatives are the mirrors of our society in the midst of our the still growing global pandemic and a new generation of righteous struggle for civil rights and equal justice. This is why we write to cope: Let us be the clarion call for a better future.

This prompt is open only to WE PAW Bloggers group members on Facebook. Member contributors were asked to submit ANY writing about our feelings, our or our community’s situation, our and/or our family’s daily diary, etc. during these multiple crises; any escapism or fantasy writes, poetry or prose inspired by these situation. Contributors were asked to put the dystopia we may be feeling into words. Limits were 1000 or less written only submissions and/or spoken word readings under seven minutes in length (with text attached); contributors were also limited to one submission per week.

NOTE: Poets may contribute more than one poem per issue. However, the sum total of the word count for all submitted poems may not exceed 1000 words.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE PUBLISHED IN A SERIES SPECIAL EDITIONS OF THE GROUP EZINE’S “CURATED COLLECTION” ISSUES, TO BE PUBLISHED WEEKLY UNTIL WE ALL COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS CRISIS.

I have suspended our regularly featured structured writing prompts during this crisis. Take care of yourselves and keep writing.

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Greece opened its borders to tourists on July 14th. On the 11th of July, They opened the borders to Serbia and Bulgaria car travelers. But there were too many cases coming from Serbia, they had to refuse them into the country unless they had a form that showed they had been tested and were clear.

Before we opened to flights from the UK, Greece was almost free of the virus.
We now have 5749 cases in Greece, when we only had a few hundred before we opened the borders.

So they have now made a lockdown law that all bars and be restaurants have to be closed by midnight. This comes into effect today 11/08 2020.
Now I can’t understand why they have that midnight deadline. Like the virus can’t be spread during the day or at 10pm. I don’t know what mindset they were in when they came up with this law.

I can see us going into total lockdown if it wasn’t for the fact that there are thousands of tourists visiting Greece right now.

The future for Greek tourism is looking bleak.

BYLINE: Karina Kantas, Author

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THE NEW NORMAL

Today was General elections in my country.
I went to the polling station to do my civic duty.
All voters wore masks and lined up for hours.
We went early in the morning before midday showers.

All my friends and neighbors were there.
It was difficult to recognize each other, even near.
We could not see each other smile.
Our lips were masked all the while.

I soon learned how to smile with my eyes,
Since I did not want to break any ties.
Greeted one another with an elbow bump,
A twitch of the head, and a thumbs up.

The new normal is so very weird.
In the good old days, no one feared,
To hug each other and shake hands,
And greet each other with enthusiasm.

BYLINE: © BrendaMohammed

WEAR A SODDING MASK! IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!

Image sourced and created with Canva

Why has wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 become such a big deal with some people?

Wear a sodding mask! It’s not all about you! If you don’t want to wear a mask to protect yourself, then do it for others who are less robust than you. There are people out there fighting pre-existing conditions whose lives are already a struggle. The last thing they want is to contract COVID-19. If they do, the probability is that they won’t survive it. Do you really want that on your conscious? Is that really YOUR CHOICE? So, get over it! Wear a sodding mask!

By March 2020, our lives started to change as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. We needed to change, in order to survive. During Lockdown, a minority persisted to flout the rules, including a few individuals who made ‘the rules’ in the first place. People I have a total lack of respect for.

In the wake of a few spikes around the UK, and more COVID-19 deaths, taking the UK’s shameful total to 46,193, the law states that you have to wear masks. And unless you want to be added to that total, wear a sodding mask!

When and where should you wear a mask?

  • on public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centers
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

You are expected to wear a face-covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep your mask on until you leave.

You’ll be expected to wear a mask from 8 August 2020 at

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist heritage or cultural sites.
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers — other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlors
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • place of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centers
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlors
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities e.g. laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites etc)
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services.
  • auction houses

You may read the full UK Government rules and recommendations here

But some people still don’t understand the rationale behind wearing masks. It’s not exactly rocket science to work out why. There have there been COVID-19 spikes since 5th July 2020 when the pubs reopened, with mass gatherings.

So, why is wearing a mask considered to be an inconvenience? It’s such a simple precaution after all. I do get it. No-one likes to be told how they should live their lives. No-one has the right to tell you how to live your life, but at the same time, you should thinking of the lives of other people.

PHOTO CREDIT: SKY NEWS Unmasked: Anti-mask activists in London 20th July 2020.

The anti-mask activists say they are not “anti-masks” but “pro-choice”, and their choice is not to wear a mask. Clare Wills-Harrison, one of the organizers, said the demonstrators were “campaigning for the return of our rights and liberties”. Hopefully, their supporters suffering from asthma, MS or those whose immune systems are suppressed, stayed at home.

Just consider for a moment. What if you are asymptomatic? You feel fine. You’re not displaying any physical signs of COVID-19. So you carry on with life as normal. You’ve been meeting up with friends, you’ve been to the pub, or a restaurant, unaware you’ve been infected with COVID-19. How many people do you think you might you have infected? So what is the problem with wearing a mask, just in case you are asymptomatic?

For some people, part of the problem has been the lack of scientific evidence in support of wearing masks. It has been sketchy, but not any more.

On the 8th of July 2020, the University of Oxford published an article about a new study carried out by Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science:

Cloth face coverings, even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — for the wearer and those around them.

Their study found:

  • Cloth face coverings are effective in protecting the wearer and those around them.
  • Behavioral factors are involved, including how people understand the virus and their perceptions of risk, trust in experts and government, can adversely affect mask-wearing
  • Face masks need to be seen as part of ‘policy packages’ with other measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene.
  • Clear and consistent policies and public messaging are key to the adoption of wearing face masks and coverings by the general public.

The general public does not need to wear surgical masks or respirators. We find that masks made from high quality material such as high-grade cotton, multiple layers and particularly hybrid constructions are effective.

If you don’t want to wear a mask to protect yourself, then do it for others who are less robust than you. There are people out there fighting pre-existing conditions whose lives are already a struggle. The last thing they want is to contract COVID-19. If they do, the probability is that they won’t survive it. Do you really want that on your conscious? Do you really want that on your conscious?

So, get over it!

Wear a sodding mask!

BYLINE: Tessa Barrie

Image by Robert Trakofler

Blind Faith

So you’re contented in the grasp
That your mothers are second rate
And all tribes aren’t of equal caste
Unfit to elect their own fate

Inequality is a peach
That feeds your monetary god
Keeps prosperity out of reach
As we swallow your scriptures fraud

So you’re fine casting a blind eye
To serve your children for a bounty
And black mail ballots to deny
The real truth for your accounting

And you wish her well so frankly
Stealing innocence for pleasure
This gift of your social ranking
Your entitlement of treasures

And I weep for the progeny
Of your selfish hate filled greed
Cast from this ideology
Of indifference your wretched creed

BYLINE: © 14 August 2020, by Robert Trakofler a.k.a. Bad Bunny

Grieving from a Distance

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While I’ve been on my own grief journey recently, many others are experiencing grief of their own. And in this time of social and travel restrictions in Australia and elsewhere, people’s sorrow and grief is being complicated by distance and isolation.

I have seen this happen multiple times within my own circle of family and friends in just the past few weeks.

My brother in Canada lost his own brother a couple of weeks ago. It was unexpected, and therefore an enormous shock.

Talking with my brother and trying to support him via instant messaging has been a blessing for both of us — to share the pain eases it somehow, if only slightly. But what I really wanted to do was get on a plane and go there to hug him and support him in person. Even if I couldn’t go immediately, the knowledge that I’d be there at some point soon would encourage him enormously.

Sadly, it’s just not possible. My state is in lockdown. We are under strict conditions for leaving home. International travel for personal reasons is not possible. Heck, going anywhere at all beyond my local supermarket or pharmacy in the time of COVID-19 is ridiculously problematic, and probably not really safe given my lousy immunity. As it is, I have to stay here and he has to be there.

He knows I’m with him in spirit, but it just doesn’t seem enough. I know how hard it was to lose a loved family member and a close friend within five days of each other, and his brother was both those things to him. I know how hard it was to deal with the trauma, and I had my family around me. I’ve been painfully aware of the fact that he lives on his own, some distance from the rest of the family, and hasn’t had the close support that I’ve had.

After losing our father in June, my sister has lost two good friends and another friend she has known for more than forty years in the space of a month. I’ve been able to talk with her and listen to her express her shock and sadness, but I haven’t been able to hug her or help her in any physical way because we’re hundreds of kilometers apart.

A friend lost his uncle this week, and be there to grieve with his family because his uncle lived interstate and our border is closed. It doesn’t matter to the authorities how close he was to his uncle, nor do they care that his uncle was a father figure for him and helped raise him. The rules apply to everyone, regardless of personal circumstance. It’s understandable, but it makes the pain and misery so much worse.

It’s not just immediate grief that is complicated by distance, either, My beloved late friend’s husband and son have both had birthdays in the past couple of weeks, and I would have so loved to be there to support them as they struggled with not wanting to celebrate, and not being able to see the rest of the family because their lockdown restrictions are so tight. They’re all dealing with curfews, stay home orders, and only being allowed to travel within five kilometers of home for essential purposes. It’s not so restricted here, but nobody is allowed to visit Melbourne for social reasons, so that’s that.

The result for all of them, and for everyone experiencing grief in the time of corona, is a vicious cycle of mental and emotional distress as sorrow and isolation feed on each other. The effect on one’s wellbeing is profound.

My heart aches for everyone in that situation. I can’t imagine how much worse it must be for those who have actually lost loved ones to the virus and haven’t been able to be with them, or with their family members as they grieve.

We are all struggling with the impact of the virus and the social restrictions it has brought to our lives, but let’s remember that there are some who are really, really doing it tough. It certainly puts the inconveniences of wearing a mask outside of home and sanitizing our hands fifty times a day into perspective.

It may not seem like much, but a phone call or message to someone can make a huge difference in their day and in their mental and emotional health. Being willing to care and to listen is an act of love and support of immense value.

BYLINE: Joanne Van Leerdam

Remember Me This Way

This image was taken on the day we went to Wales for a family day out. I was just out of hospital after I had a massive blood clot on my liver which burst and somehow missed my brain and heart but hit everything else. I hope everyone remembers me like this

We too in happier times,
when we owned the day.
The sun shines on the righteous
so they say.
Well it did that day.
Jan and Kaye
or to put it another way,
children with the sky in their eyes,
full of hope and surprise.
Try to remember me this way…

BYLINE: Jan Ferrier, Poet and Fantasy Author

Read With Your Children

Read with your child. Show your child how important reading is to you. Your child will love it. Your child wants to be just like you.

You are a role model for your child, the future reader. Make sure your child sees you reading.

Whether you are reading a book, a newspaper, a magazine or even directions for something you just bought, your child will notice you reading. Show your child that reading is an important part of your life by keeping books, magazines and newspapers around the house. When your child is older, show them how to research things they want to learn by surfing the web, and looking at sites like Wikipedia to read about the subject. Also, make a habit of bringing your children’s books with them on appointments or long trips to show how to keep busy in a positive way and becoming a better reader.

You should have a special section in your home where books are displayed. Your child can have their own book section in their room or add their books to your special area. It is very inviting to have a reading area in your home where people just feel like taking a book off the shelf and reading it.

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Remember you can read in any language you are comfortable with. If your child is an English Language Learner, you can show him that you read fluently in your native language. Encouraging bilingual reading habits is important to your child when he reaches adulthood as well.

Here are some things you can do when reading with your child:

. Put your child on your lap ad look at books together.

. Turn the pages slowly and encourage conversation about the pictures and the story.

. Make reading time a special time of the day.

If your child is a beginning reader:

. Point out and read words in everyday settings such as stores and on streets.

. Memorize and practice sight words together.

. Have your child practice visualizing the story in their head.

. Ask questions while you are reading.

. Look at illustrations for clues to word meanings or to make predictions.

If your child is a more advanced reader

. Make sure he is reading at least 30 minutes daily (or more if assigned for homework)

. This time can include time reading to you, independently or both of you together.

. Visit bookstores and libraries whenever you can to encourage interest in new books.

. Ask questions about what the story is about? What does he think will happen next?

. Talk about what kinds of books (and genres) your child likes to read. Keep your eye out for these books when you are out and be sure to order from classroom book clubs.

Most of all, always make reading fun. If there is a book that has a TV show or movie with the same title, watch it together and discuss what is the same about it and the book and what is different.

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In summary, as we approach a new and anxiety-filled school year, encouraging reading and getting books for your child to enjoy at home is encouraged. Show your love for reading and you will build a better reader for life!

BYLINE: Elaine Meleti Gallagher

Covid Malaise

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A heavy weight presses down and down
That malaise of Life never gives ground
when all the world’s flailing, falling
It feels like sinking, like drowning
Is there no reprieve… no freedom’s air
In a world gone mad, I just can’t breathe
Sinking darkness pulls me deep
It’s hulking form hides the light
Pandemic and death are all around
Our weighted hearts bourn down, down, down
The best of us dies… and dies… and dies
For the worst of us, perfidy flourishes
Justice is bound, dragged back and back
Bound by oppression, justice is undone
Society is broken… bereft of compassion
Throw away people… grandma callously sacrificed
Crushing our youth… their futures betrayed

BYLINE: ©17 August 2020, by D. Denise Dianaty

If you wish to contribute to this ezine, please join the group on Facebook

D. Denise Dianaty: Editor and Graphic Designer for the WE PAW Bloggers E-Zine. Administrator for the writers forum “WE PAW Bloggers” group and its sister group “Pandora’s Box of Horrors” on Facebook.

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