Sherrida Woodley
Somewhere toward the middle of Quick Fall of Light there is a paragraph about the 1918 flu. The words have stayed with me throughout our own pandemic, words that describe the horrendous power of disease on the rampage in a world unprepared. I think that paragraph explains why I wrote the novel, especially at a time when few were discussing a health catastrophe.

A writer often thinks about what's happened and what could happen again.
Quick Fall of Light is merely the re-telling of that age-old collision, one between the past and the present with only one major twist. I believed, truly, I would never live to see another 1918-like force overtake mankind. But it has arrived in my lifetime, along with all its collateral damage, taking me on a journey of comparison between what happened one hundred years ago and today. There are similarities and there are deep inconsistencies, one of the biggest being modern technology.

However, in the end, a record-setting disease is like the division between ages, setting a new benchmark and becoming a tool for learning. Disease always warns of repetition while building a case for innovation and truthful recognition. We think we understand the need to explore, to remedy, to constantly monitor ourselves and our world for the violent nature of a virus. But truth is, humans will have to accept the possibilities of novel disease for the rest of time. Zoonotic disease and even biologically enhanced and newly discovered threats to world health will push us toward corralling the beast. But this beast exists in an endless succession of form and change. We will have to work through each one as it occurs or shifts. And look back, at least occasionally, to remind ourselves we can survive this monster too.

"The 1918 flu took lives in the ugliest possible ways. People hemorrhaged, turned black from lack of oxygen, their bodies stacked like cordwood. But we learned the most from the ones who survived. They described never being the same. Though it spared their lives, flu scoured through their systems. Catarrh, some called it, black catarrh, caused people to vomit blood from their lungs. They wept blood. They felt a chill so cold they set themselves on fire. Some of them spent weeks without seeing. A few of them never walked again, and then, of course, there were those who never woke up."

"There it is," Elsa said, her words sure to be repeated at hourly broadcasts. "The worst that can happen might be that you continue to breathe. It might be that some treatment allows you to live, but it's too little too late. . ."---
Quick Fall of Light

My maternal grandmother was in her late teens when she contracted the 1918 flu. According to her brief description of the disease, she said, "I was never the same." She mentioned fatigue as being a key factor.
My grandfather, who had been in France and Germany in WWI, was allowed to come home a few weeks early to care for her. She credited him with her survival.
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