“The ideal reader has known unhappiness.”

– Alberto Manguel

Written by Sheila van den Heuvel-Collins

This COVID-19 pandemic guarantees there are readers who have known unhappiness.

The COVID-19 issue of the Mississauga Writers Group’s Write ON! (http://mississaugawritersgroup.com/the-covid-19-issue) offers the reader a smorgasbord of options for happiness: coping skills for the boredom, spiritual balm, environmental considerations and so on. The reader can find brief respite from their unhappiness, if not a solution.

Authors are quite accustomed to looking at everyday situations and packaging them in unique perspectives—that’s what writing is about. When we’re handed an extraordinary situation, we get the pleasure of repackaging it as something else: perhaps something agreeable, something funny, something that makes the reader feel better about life; perhaps the repackaging becomes a story of misfortune that allows the reader to safely feel and explore the emotions they’ve been ignoring.

Because the Mississauga Writers Group is an eclectic mix of authors (different ages, interests, approaches to writing, etc.) this e-zine also provides authentic documentation from the early period of this pandemic (April/May 2020) in Mississauga. As our city changes with the lightning speed that is our present, the history can get lost in the space between “I’m too busy to document this” and “I’m too tired to document this.” A century from now, we’ll want to know what this pandemic was like in this huge, multicultural, relatively-new urban area that still battles for its own identity. What was the sudden silence like? What was it like for those temporarily unemployed, with unlimited time on their hands? What was it like for retired people who were used to the free hours but now had to maneuver the intricacies of the Internet if they wanted to see their friends? What was it like to wear a mask all the time, and how did that change our human interactions?

Are families actually a blessing when they’re getting cabin fever?

A century from now, we’ll also want to know about the people who lived here: the young, the old, the poets, the memoirists, the painters. Perhaps our authors will have become famous; more likely, they’ll be researched by grandchildren and great-grandchildren who heard there was once (cue the eye-rolls and bitten tongues) another writer in the family, and they’ll take comfort in finding where they came from.

The Mississauga Writers Group encourages its members to contribute to our rejection-free e-zine, so they can build a portfolio and an online presence as well as contribute to cultural wealth of Mississauga. Membership is open to anyone living in Mississauga. Please email info@mississaugawritersgroup.com for more information.


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