Is it over? Are we safe yet? What the hell happened? Or, rather, more aptly: What didn’t happen?
In 2020, we were deceived and misled. Each day offered a new challenge, revealed some new horror, and there was no relief in being told it was simply the nature of the world, the nature of our society. 2020 was the kind of thing that happens to people in textbooks, except it was happening in real time to all of us. We probably need group therapy to make sense of it all, to address our individual and collective wounds. This book is in pursuit of doing just that: Offer some kind of catharsis to the whole ordeal.
“2020 is shaping up to be one of the most garbage years in American history. What statement do you want to make about it?” This was the prompt advanced to writers of the essays in this collection, capturing experiences raw and personal, and attempting to make sense of the extraordinary situation we found ourselves in. Very few walked away unscathed.
Such a confluence of issues: COVID, Trump, racism, poverty, health under siege, sexism, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, protests, federal troops occupying American cities and beating on citizens, masks and social distancing, businesses shuttered, entire industries closed, schools moved online, major sports halted, and more.
As the effects of 2020 continue rippling, the future already begs to know, “What the hell happened that year?” We hope this collection will clarify, or perhaps at least de-fog a bit. Essays as testimony provide an intimate lens, a snapshot in time. And perhaps a way to make sense of some of the chaos, so we can move forward with fresh eyes.
Rashaun J. Allen, Jason Arment, Rabb Asad, Joe Austin, DeMisty D. Bellinger, John S. Blake, Shannon Brazil, Tracy Burkholder, Suzanne Burns, Brendan Canty, Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, Stacey Y. Clark, Eve Connell, Zaji Cox, Alex Dang, Leah Noble Davidson, Sean Davis, Chris Dupuy, James Jay Edwards, Brian S. Ellis, Jenny Forrester, Kenning JP García, Lauren Gilmore, Dian Greenwood, Joseph Edwin Haeger, Ally Henny, Jackie Shannon Hollis, Gabino Iglesias, Ashley James, Tim Mays, Wryly T. McCutchen, Travis Laurence Naught, Dang Nguyen, Isobel O’Hare, Florencia Orlandoni, Linda Rand, Skyler Reed, Christine Maul Rice, Kate Ristau, Leyna Rynearson, Liz Scott, Kimberly Sheridan, Corie Skolnick, Amoja Sumler, Ben Tanzer, Nancy Townsley, Chris Valle, Ran Walker, Eric Witchey, Ellen Yaffa, Jason Zenobia