The pen is mightier than the coronavirus

What strange days we find ourselves living in. What unprecedented days. Days of concern and apprehension, of great threats and radical countermeasures. How are you managing? Staying healthy, I trust? Getting used to life indoors? It’s not so new for those of us who work from home, but plenty of folk are feeling the strain, as we all #staythefhome amid the general siege mentality.

But we can take courage from the knowledge that we have several weapons to wield against our common foe. Soap and water, for one, will stop it in its tracks. Social distancing helps us protect the vulnerable and do our bit to support our heroic doctors and nurses.

And another thing we have is words. Communicating. Keeping in touch, keeping informed, keeping our collective spirits up. Filling the streets with song, like the proud people of Siena in this spinetingling impromptu of the classic Canto della Verbena. Or having a Skype chat with grandma, joining a Zoom meeting with a bunch of colleagues, seizing the chance to read that book, do that online course or write that story you’d never got around to. Now’s a good time.

In business, too, now’s the time to reach out (there, I said it) to our customers and suppliers, our colleagues and staff, who might all be feeling a bit vulnerable and concerned about how things are going to pan out. There have been speeches of real leadership, from Italian President Giuseppe Conte, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson (RIP) and many more. My clients have been sending messages to encourage their employees, to reassure their customers and to paint a vision of a more hopeful future.

Of course, it would be tone deaf to promote a tourist destination or major event as if nothing were amiss. But we can help people to daydream, to imagine their world when things have returned to normal. And we can help businesses large and small to keep going through the tough times and emerge to make the most of the pent-up demand that will eventually be released, hopefully in not-too-distant days.

Well, I can’t help you with the soap and water, and I can only urge you to stay indoors. But when it comes to words, my colleagues and I in the translation, writing and editing professions are right here, standing shoulder to shoulder with you and your business. We’re hunkered down at home with our computers, ready to assist with your textual needs. With, I dare say, advantageous terms (even pro bono) on offer for special cases and humanitarian jobs.

In the meantime, stay safe and do join me in donating to help my adopted country, Italy, fight the good fight against Covid-19. Below are some appeals you can trust.

We’re all in this together, so if we do our bit then we’ll get through it – andrà tutto bene!