In the Before Time

Between March and October 2020, Seattle-based Blue Ear Books founder Ethan Casey kept a diary of the Covid-19 crisis as it unfolded. The result, more than 50 entries totaling 97,000 words over seven extraordinary months, is an essential eyewitness document of an unprecedented cascade of events, written with the eye of a seasoned international journalist yet keenly focused on here and now.

In the first entry, dated March 3, 2020, Ethan wrote about conversations with two friends who encouraged him to write the diary:

John reiterated what Dennis had said about my ability to bring a global context home to myself and to readers. I pointed out the irony that, after moving here fourteen years ago, part of what I came to cherish about Seattle was that it seemed remote and set apart from the wider world, tucked away as it is in the northwestern corner of the USA. After moving here I continued to travel a lot for work, around the country as well as back to Pakistan and Haiti and to Africa, and Seattle was the refuge I came home to. “There’s no such thing anymore,” said John this morning. “There’s no ‘away.’”

In the Before Time: A Seattle Diary of the Pandemic Year is in preparation to be published in book form by Blue Ear Books in Spring 2021. You can support its publication, and the work of Blue Ear Books generally, by pre-purchasing a copy for $17.95 plus $3.95 US shipping: