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Byron Shire
June 21, 2021

Give us a new story – what are your ideas?

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Echonetdaily wants you to create new narratives with a short story competition. The main rule is the story has nothing to do with COVID-19.

Mandy Nolan

One virus to rule them all, one virus to find them, one virus to bring them all, and in the darkness, bind them.

Right now, the entire world is living under the sway of one unifying narrative – COVID-19. It feels that we are truly living in the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie – both in our world and in ourselves.

The viral genome is 26–32 kilobases in length, the largest among known RNA viruses but still imperceptible to the human eye. It’s invaded our bodies, our towns, our cities, our countries, our economic system, our world. It’s become not only the dominant narrative, its’ become the ONLY narrative. It’s on every news feed updated every hour. Sometimes every half hour. It’s on every social media post. It’s on TV. It’s on the radio. It’s what we talk about. It’s what we think about. It’s the unknown unseen enemy, the dark lord.

Having one narrative is fatiguing. It’s unrelenting. And it’s only just started.

We watch the horror behind glass, from the safety of our screens. Many are tired of hearing about it. Tired of talking about it. Tired of thinking about it. Tired of how in such a short space of time the multiplicity of narratives around the world  has been shrunk into just one: something bleak and hopeless.

Group messages shared on social media feeding fear of catastrophe authored apparently from doctors in China, or a nurse in Italy or someone in Thailand bing their arrival every 10 minutes. Often it’s the same message many times with various claims at authorship. The virus can be killed by heat. By sunshine. By garlic. By staying home. By going out and getting infected. Real news and fake news meld, we don’t know quite what to believe.

Help us survive

Surviving the virus isn’t just about avoiding infection and transmission’ or even managing economically – it’s about managing mentally. We need things to look forward to. We need people to touch. We need people to talk to. We need to laugh. We need hope. We need community. We need purpose. We need our narratives back. So maybe in this weird time we should tell each other stories that have NOTHING to do with coronavirus. We need narratives that give us space to breathe.

Echonetdaily wants you to create new narratives with a short story competition. The main rule is the story has nothing to do with COVID-19. It can be no more than 800 words in length and there will be a $50 cash prize every week for six weeks!

Email your entries to: [email protected] by 11.59pm every Tuesday for inclusion. Please include your full name, address, and phone number. 

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