There’s nothing like home

Do you remember ET and the phrase “ET go home”? That scene was so poignant. On Friday, once we’d seen the numbers projecting peak cases of COVID 19 in the US and Canada, and the general mathematical models for how epidemics like this unfold, we immediately started packing.

After two long days of driving, we’re back in Toronto. According to the Canadian government guidelines, we need to self-isolate for fourteen days – even though we have no symptoms – which means no direct contact with outsiders, and remaining almost exclusively in our condo. It’s a good thing our son was able to get groceries and cleaning supplies and body lotion for the hands that are constantly being washed!

We took food along with us on the drive, which we ate in order to avoid fast food establishments and the hotel’s free breakfast. We had disinfectant spray, paper towels, wet wipes, tissues, and hand soap in the car. I packed two pillow cases which we used on Sunday night instead of the ones provided by the hotel – even though they looked crisp and fresh. And when we arrived at the hotel, I sprayed and wiped down every surface before we settled in.

On Sunday, as we drove through Virginia – or it might have been West Virginia – we listened to Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister as he briefed Canadian citizens about travel restrictions and other government actions … the message was COME HOME! and DON’T LEAVE THE COUNTRY! at this time. Practice social distancing, be kind to your neighbours, offer to help, reach out to friends and family via email, Skype and other technologies.

Today, Ontario’s premier (I live in Toronto, Ontario) announced a state of emergency. Like other places around the world, Canadian provinces, cities and towns have put severe restrictions in place. And we don’t know how long this will last. Makes me think of how governments and citizens were forced to react during times like WWI and WWII.

While this goes on, I’ll continue to post articles for the latest series: Reflections on Writing Historical Fiction and I’ll expand on the seven elements of historical fiction as I began a few weeks ago. I hope these will offer a brief respite from today’s unprecedented times.


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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18 Responses

  1. Thanks for continuing to post. We’re hunkered down and internet connection with our writer/reader community will be a comfort in uncertain times. Chris

  2. Glad you got home safely, Mary. I was in San Diego at a crime writers conference (Left Coast Crime) that got cancelled after the first day. We were (finally) able to get home and are also self-isolating. Fortunately for writers, we are accustomed to alone time! Stay safe!


    TK Thorne


  3. So glad you are home safe and sound, Mary. What times these are. I, too, have thought a lot about the World Wars, but also about the people who not long ago formed the large middle class in Syria. I am still optimistic that all this hunkering down will pay off in saved lives. Hugs to you, Margaret

    1. Me too, Margaret. Speaking of the Syrians makes me realize that in the COVID 19 chaos, we are ignoring others in even more dire circumstances. Hugs right back!

  4. Thanks Mary, I think your posts, twitter and email will becomke very mportant over the next little while:):)

  5. Good that you’re home and bunkered down, Mary. As you say, no place like home.
    We’ve decide to avoid the city as much as we can and stay isolated at our cottage on the coast in Tasmania?
    Will it make things any safer for us and ours?
    Who knows?
    I feel we need to rely on scientists and doctors. Certainly here, I think the politicians need to hand it all over to the specialists and for the pollies to step back and merely be conduits.
    Stay safe and the same to everyone who reads your blog.

    1. Thanks, Prue. Good luck in Tasmania. I agree with your perspectives on scientists and doctors. Canadians are fortunate that the politicians respect and are in deep consultation with the health and science community. Even though there are still discrepancies between provincial action, most of it seems well coordinated. Such a difficult task to get information out to citizens and to reinforce the need to follow guidelines and so on. Be well!

  6. I hope you both get through the 14 days all right and then avoid any local infection. I have felt the same about home more so over the last few years and know about solitary times being a writer for pleasure. I am sure if I had driven 1500 miles in two days I would need to go to bed for a week to recover. I am still trying to make sense of the numbers. China so far 3,200 deaths out of a population of 1.400,000m (if I have the noughts in the right place). UK annual deaths – sepsis 40,000 cases, 6,000 in the home 1,800 on our roads and the last serious flu in 17/18 some 20,000 … which is the prediction for the CV in UK. Waterstones one of our main national bookshops is saying they are flooded out with orders so this is positive for writers. Best wishes and my thoughts and prayers for all your readers and watchers especially those at most risk with the choice but deadly euphemism – underlying conditions.

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