NORFOLK, Va. — While COVID-19 has many hunkering down at home, some are turning to the world of literature for insight, comfort, or a welcome escape.
"It's other worlds that an author has created for them, and it allows them to live in another world -- maybe a world without COVID or a world on another planet,” says Michael Khandelwal, the Executive Director of the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk. The nonprofit is dedicated to spreading awareness and support of the literary arts.
Khandelwal says the center will continue to offer writing classes and host readings and events online amid the coronavirus.
“One of the things... that's been very important to us is the idea of building community and giving people a place to feel at home,” says Khandelwal. “There's a risk of these kinds of connections going away in a crisis like that.”
The Muse Writers Center is also using a Facebook group to keep writers connected, which Khandelwal says gives them reassurance and a sense of togetherness as they practice social distancing.
“Our Facebook group is called 'The Writers Reservoir', and anyone is welcome to join if you're interested in creative writing,” says Khandelwal. “They're still able to talk to each other and connect... and also see that the world, even though it's changed drastically, there's still a lot going on."
You can check out the Facebook group here.
Donations are important to keep The Muse Writers Center’s operations going, but Khandelwal says the center is also calling on its supporters to let directors know how they can better serve the community during the pandemic.
“We really want to maintain and grow and sustain and enrich the community that's around us,“ says Khandelwal. “We're looking at a lot of ideas that are coming from the community of things that people would like us to do.”
It’s all part of The Muse Writers Center’s mission to continue to promote self-expression through literature, an effort Khandelwal says is even more crucial during this challenging time.
“Right now...everyone is experiencing a story they've never even imagined they would experience before,“ says Khandelwal. “Sharing our story is sharing ourselves...This is putting ourselves in the community and making our stories resonate with each other.”
Consider donating money to help The Muse Writers Center and other local organizations as part of Give Local 757. More than 200 nonprofits need your support. Please go to the Give Local 757 website and donate so they can continue to help the community recover from this crisis.