This blog was a way to organize chaos and uncertainty, a little, to put an oar in the sea of statistics. It was Sue’s idea (she always has the best ideas). She emailed me and said, we should start a blog. It should be for everyone, not just us. It should be just what people are thinking and feeling. Not too analytical. Not about statistics. We called it Raw Data (the title was my idea, I think) because we wanted it to be unmoderated, uncurated. We decided that we’d edit only very lightly – copy editing, and maybe for length. We didn’t want to get in the way of our posters’ voices.
We’ve been overwhelmed in the best way by what people sent in. At this end date, there have been (including this last post) 190 posts from more than 160 posters. We had 34 repeat posters: the winners of repeat posting are Mara Purnhagen in first place, with 5; and Sylvie Newell in second place, with 4. Our oldest contributor is 87, our youngest 7.
We’ve published lists, recipes, poems, complaints. Songs, prayers, reflections, photos. Stories, comics, memories, advice. Our writers expressed fear, anxiety, love, frustration, longing, humor, joy. Our posters were mainly from Ohio, but also scattered across the fifty states – Florida, Arkansas, Colorado, Vermont, Washington (state and DC), etc. We had two O’Keefe/O’Keeffes – one with an extra F, and unrelated, and four Grimms, only two of whom are us.
Yes, we said we were quitting on September 30. But we got several last minute posts that we didn’t want to shut the door on – thanks, beloved deadline-ignorers! We’re stopping because – six months! It’s a long time. And also because Susan likes to end things before they get stale, or before we get tired of them. Six months seems like a good place to stop, even though the pandemic is not over.
As I said in an earlier post, we're hoping to do something further with all this wonderful material – we’re not sure what that will be yet. When we decide what to do, we'll let you know. Thanks for posting, dear contributors, and thanks for reading, dear readers. This blog was one of the ways that we coped with uncertainty and sadness, and we hope that it has been helpful, maybe only in the smallest ways, to you all as well.
Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection). Currently, she is working on a novel set in 1930s Cleveland. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.