It is now December 1, 2022 — only 60 days until the mega-marketeers of Amazon.com will be offering the first copies of Hollow Crown of Fire: A Discovery of Meaning in the Coronavirus Pandemic and Its Predecessors.
This fact is nearly incomprehensible to me. Not because I don’t have faith in the ability of Amazon to sell, with blazing efficiency, nearly anything to anyone. I mean, they just delivered a pirate costume for my one-eyed cat, only 24 hours after I ordered it. (He loves it, of course.)
The reason it’s hard to believe that Hollow Crown of Fire is going to be available as a printed book is because I never really thought that it would be a book, period. Not even close. In March 2020, I began writing what I thought would be a long and rambling tirade about the shocking disinterest that historians have displayed for the meaningful consequences of pandemic disease. (And some people might say that Hollow Crown of Fire has some flavor of that tirade, even now. I won’t argue.)
However, the longer the Covid lockdown persisted, and the higher the Covid death counts climbed, the more it seemed clear that the meaning of pandemic suffering was a Grail that should not be ignored any longer. Unfortunately, finding it was going to require telling the ghastly history of humanity’s death-dance with Pestilence. I don’t think I need to say more about how depressing this descent into the Inferno felt to me, especially during a time when simple human pleasures like dinner parties and toilet paper seemed as doomed as the dodo.
But I am a terribly stubborn thing, as most of my ex-friends will readily confirm. In the end, I just couldn’t break away from my journey through the hell of Pestilence until I found some sense of meaning for myself. And by the time I found it, I had written something that strongly resembled a book.
Of course, books require publishing, and I felt utterly unmotivated to embark on that journey. I mean, I had found quite a lot of meaning for myself, but who knew whether anyone else would be interested in what I had found, or understand why I had attempted such a damn fool thing in the first place? To hell with publishing, thought I.
And that’s when Jean Bolen started honking…