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COVID-19 and the Black Death: Present and Past Collide

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If you are a student of literature, you would have met Francesco Petrarch. His name is immortalised in the term Petrarchan sonnet , even though he didn’t develop the form. He lived in the 14 th century and survived the Black Death , the Plague that ravaged Eurasia between 1347 and 1351, killing millions of people. Interestingly, that Plague started in the East before moving to Europe and, like the COVID-19 disease which is ravaging the world in 2020, it made a devastating pit stop in Italy of that time. Petrarch was Italian and reflected in many letters about the course of that Plague. One of his reflections has much resonance today.   Kevin Shau , in an article on Medium ,  shares some excerpts from Petrarch's letters that he wrote to his friend and fellow literary great, Giovanni Boccaccio. Of the passage of the Plague, Petrarch wrote : “While I am lamenting in vain and unburdening my spirit of these sorrows, I am accusing men who cannot reply: if only, dear f

Writing creatively: What one word can do

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  Writing is a challenging job that requires creativity and commitment. 'Tell me something I don't know,' you are saying at this very minute, but hear me out. I have met people who want to be writers, whether writers of poems, writers of books, or writers of screen plays. They know that they should be writers. They say they feel it in their bones. It is something that is calling them from deep down inside. Their calling is to be a writer because they have something to say and they must say it. They accept the calling and sit down to write that poem, that story or that screenplay that they believe they should write. But once they have that sheet of paper or that blank word document in front of them, they draw a blank or the words they write do not capture what they intended to write. They are left frustrated. And there are those people who know that they should be writers, but they cannot, no matter how hard they try, find the right thing to write about.

Using the COVID-19 outbreak as a Writing Prompt

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Are you using the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent pandemic as a writing prompt? If you aren't, you should. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life from which all kinds of stories can be written. A number of writers  in the past found inspiration during a pandemic to pen seminal works. I don’t know whether or not China is telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what is happening there with the Novel Corona Virus. But what is true is that this virus is slowly seeping into the rest of the world and some of us will be infected and will end up fighting for our lives. Some of us will lose this fight and some of us will survive to fight another day. The actions of China in dealing with this virus tell us that the authorities there recognise the danger and are doing their best to contain it. The rest of the world is watching and fighting its own battles to contain the virus where it is present in their countries or to prevent it from entering their cou

The how, why and what of writing

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How did you learn to write? Not the letters of the alphabet but a composition. Probably a composition about your pet, or the summer holiday, or your best friend, or your visit to some site... I am sure that you wrote one such composition. And you used one of the following guidelines that your teacher gave you. Structuring Writing 1 In primary school your teacher told you that you needed to have a beginning, a middle and an end, when you wrote your composition. That is, the first paragraph being an introduction, the second paragraph being about the thing that you were writing about and the third paragraph being your conclusion – a three paragraph structure.  When you went to high school, you upgraded from compositions to what your teachers called essays. This time, your teacher told you to write your essays having a beginning, middle and end. That is, an introduction, a middle with at least three paragraphs and a conclusion – the five paragraph structure. So

Writing Toolkit

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Every workman or workwoman needs tools. What tools does the writer need to have to get the writing job done? In this post, I will share with you the contents of my writing toolkit and show you why I have included them. First, I will define the writing toolkit. Read on to find out what tools may be put into the writer's toolkit and why they are necessary.  What is a writing tool-kit? I define the writing toolkit as a collection of tangible and intangible things that the writer need s to have in place to get the writing job done. Here are the tools that I have in my toolkit. Imagination For years, I have been putting tools into my writing toolkit without realising it. Now that I think about it, I realise that t he first tool that I put into my writing toolkit was imagination. I update it as the years go by. Imagination is the ability to visualise, to see things in your mind that you haven’t experienced before, to process your experiences as you live them a