Not Cowering, Not Courageous

What if there were hundreds of thousands of people dying in Colorado alone, not just the 987 who have died so far? Would you have the courage to live, to fall in love, to open your home to those less fortunate, to try to find out who unleashed the microscopic beast as my characters in A Spark of Heavenly Fire did?

Apparently, I wouldn’t. I’m following orders and staying home. Alone. Not much courage in that. No spark of heavenly fire, either, that’s beaming up and blazing in this dark hour of adversity.

I’m not exactly cowering, but I am paying attention to the stay-at-home order even though most people in my age group aren’t. Little by little they are claiming their lives, going out and doing non-essential things, getting together in small groups. If my knee were healed, I might join some of them, especially those who meet outside, but my knee makes me feel vulnerable. I’ve also spent so much time alone that I fear my immune system isn’t exactly in tip-top shape, so I’d be especially susceptible to any small illness that comes along.

So, not cowering, not courageous. Just pragmatic.

I do worry, though. I have spent so much time in the years since Jeff died trying to be sociable despite my inclination to not go out, that I fear this time of being forced into staying home will make it all but impossible for me to gain the energy to overcome my natural hermit tendencies. I used to say “yes” to all invitations because that forced me out of my nest, but now I find myself saying “no.” Eventually, people will stop asking.

Although I do believe that The Bob was never severe enough to merit the measures that were taken to keep us home and to “flatten the curve” to keep the ill from overwhelming hospitals (the projection of deaths was built on a flawed model that was discredited months ago), I would probably have stayed home anyway. I tend to catch things easily and be sick longer than most people — and did so even when I was younger — that I have learned to take extra precautions, though I admit, those precautions probably would not have been as strict as the stay-at-home orders.

Luckily, I have the choice. Luckily, I have a lovely house in which to stay home.

And luckily for you, for the next month, A Spark of Heavenly Fire will be available as a free download from Smashwords in all ebook formats. You can find the book here: Be sure to use the coupon code WN85X when purchasing.

I figure that by the time the world gets back to normal — or as normal as it will ever get — people will be sick of the very word “quarantine,” and won’t want to have anything to do with novel diseases or diseases in a novel, which is why I giving it away now. I hope I’m wrong about people not wanting to read about devastating diseases after this is all through because A Spark of Heavenly Fire is more than a story about a pandemic — it’s the story of survival in the face of brutality, government cover-up, and public hysteria. It is also a story of love: lost, found and fulfilled.

It certainly is not about a woman who stayed home. Where’s the story in that?


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

11 Responses to “Not Cowering, Not Courageous”

  1. jarilissima Says:

    Thanks for offering your book for free! I’m in Colorado, so this should be interesting 🙂 I look forward to reading it. I will remind myself to review it once I’m done, because I know that reviews help authors, and as a thank you for offering the book for free.

    I don’t believe staying in is a sign of cowardice, especially with the order. But I did have a long conversation with my hubby, asking “Can they really do that? Can they force people to stay at home?” The most surprising thing that has come out of this to me is how quickly everyone accepted that we can be forced to stay at home. Anyone that thinks about that for more than two minutes will see the gravity of it. Not even during 9/11 (which I lived through in the US) did we face so much fear mongering! Oh, well.

    A very thoughtful blog. Thanks for the book again! Enjoy your day 🙂

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I didn’t know you are in Colorado. If you don’t mind telling me, where? I grew up in Denver, spent most of my adult life on the western slope, and am now in the southeastern corner.

      As for the stay at home orders — that is so far from any rights a governor or government in the USA has, that I’m surprised there weren’t more uprisings. But fear is a potent goad, and there sure has been a lot of fear mongering the past few months. It worries me. 9/11 resulted in a lot fewer freedoms, and I think the same will be the result of these orders.

      I hope you enjoy the book, and a review would be awesome!

      • jarilissima Says:

        Yes, that is the worry I see (less freedoms), at least in real life. Online, people are strangely okay with it. I’m in the Fort Collins area, in a small town that has thankfully been very chill and relaxed. People still walk outside, there is delivery available, and neighbors are nice to each other, not paranoid. I’m blessed to be here! 🙂

  2. Judy Galyon Says:

    It was a good book. Hope all is well with you!

  3. Sam Sattler Says:

    I’m still not getting out to do the “non-essential” things, but the essential things seem to be piling up now and demanding more outside attention. So, I’ve had plumbers and other repairmen come into the house, and I’ve had to venture out to pack up my father’s apartment so that he can be moved into a different care facility.

    What floors me and disappoints me is the number of people not bothering with any of the suggested protocols when they go out in public. No masks? No, of course not, because that is a violation of their personal freedoms and it’s all just a vast governmental conspiracy to great a New World Order, anyway. No one is, by God, going to tell those folks what to do. After all, they are young and healthy – or old and stupid – so they don’t have to bother worrying about anyone but themselves. They are invincible and the rest of us can go to hell.

    (Obviously, I’m in a bad mood this morning.)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t like wearing a mask, so I stay home. It seems a simple solution to me, but obviously not to others. I’ve had repair people come, but plumbing is essential! As is taking care of your father’s needs. I hope you found a safe place for him. This would be a scary time to be moving into a care facility.

      As for being in a bad mood — no wonder. I’ve been there, but oddly, not so much today. Staying (mostly) away from people — online and offline — has been good for my morale.

  4. Kathy Says:

    Good thinking about your book promo now because people being sick of anything “Bob-related,” although tons of books, screenplays and music cues with that theme are being written/requested. So I’m struggling with my latest wip set on a cruise ship. Draft 2 was already written when this thing exploded, so do I (a) dump it because the very word “cruise” seems to incite a riot, (b) rewrite it with people quarantined on the ship, or (3) continue on as planned?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      If it were me, I’d, continue on as planned. As you said, people will be sick of anything “Bob-related.” Although it might sound grandiose, I write for the ages. I once read that a classic is a book or movie or whatever that is always current, so I stay away from issues and events that would define a time period for the piece.

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