An important difference between the introduction to These Black and Blue Red Zone Days (ISBN 979-8-218-17561-0) and the planned art book edition, currently titled Black and Blue Letters from the Red Zone, is the absence of a definitive discussion on the meaning of the term Red Zone. Some prefer the intrigue it evokes without a precise definition. For those more drawn to the opposite, presented here is condensed version taken from the intro to the art book edition and which can be referenced as a supplemental text to These Black and Blue Red Zone Days.
Rainbows and COVID
The colors of a rainbow arcing across the sky after a nerve-rattling storm often inspire people with a sense of hopefulness and gratitude. They indicate, we like to think, better days are on the way. The red, orange, yellow, green and blue generally associated with the natural wonder prompted very different responses when they began appearing in charts posted on the internet, published in hard print, and presented in neighborhood meetings to inform communities of how likely their citizens were to contract the COVID-19 coronavirus and, possibly, lose their lives to it.
…A dull shade of blue close to what some in the southern United States call “haint blue” (meant to discourage unwanted spirits from invading a home) was used for small and large dots on maps to identify locations where COVID-19 cases had been discovered. Dull red circles like splotches of fading blood stains were used to indicate where deaths had occurred. None of this, at first, meant anything to me or most people I knew.
…So far as the epidemic-turned-pandemic went, there was nothing to worry about unless someone started posting case maps of the United States showing the entire Peach State of Georgia smeared crimson. At any moment, someone was going to announce a vaccine or cure had been developed and we would all laugh about having dodged a germ-infested bullet. It would no longer matter, by that time, whether the virus had come from a fish market in Wuhan, China, or been intentionally created to function as a biological weapon. I would have felt differently if, in February , I had been able to peep a few months into the future and read these words:
“…How we live and interact with each other, how we work and communicate, how we move around and travel. Every aspect of our lives has been affected. Although the world is in lockdown, governments, epidemiologists, school principals, entrepreneurs and families around the world are already planning the next steps: how to safely reopen schools and businesses, how to commute and travel without transmitting or contracting infection, how to support those most affected by the crisis…”
Contemporary award-winning American author of classically-styled works in history, poetry, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and journalism.