Dang, the writing in the most recent edition of Bim Adewunmi’s infrequent-but-excellent email newsletter is a billboard for why you should subscribe immediately:
Flu is one of those diseases I am very fortunate to have had maybe only thrice so far — every time I have flu, I think about how every winter, people wrongly diagnose their colds as flu, and laugh. Flu feels like a fight with a vengeful spirit, like your own body is angry with you but won’t tell you what you did wrong… it just wants you to know automatically, and it will punish you for the foreseeable future because you don’t. When you have flu, you remember that its full name is influenza, which sounds like a powerful spell cast by practitioners of magic far greater than you. You remember also, that flu can and did in fact kill, on a large scale, multiple times in the history of humans. Idly, in the middle of sinus pain that will make you cry silent pathetic tears as it feels like someone is literally breaking your face, you will recall that it was actually a kind of flu — the fictional “Georgia flu” — that caused the extinction level event at the centre of Station Eleven, the most indelible book you ever read. Flu reminds you that you are an animal — no more, no less — and that you do all the things animals do. You smell and snarl like an animal, you sweat and whimper like one too. In the depths of flu, everything seems to trigger the fight or flight response, but you are too weak to do anything but lay there. Flu makes you soft and spongy. Flu is humbling.