The newsletter – or, the family holiday newsletter – is all but a relic, if it was ever mainstream. The annual update, written and sent to loved ones at the end of the year, briefly (sometimes humorously) chronicles memorable or notable moments in the past year of the letter writer’s life.
2020 has impacted people all over the world, in major or minor ways and for bad or for good, with a universality that’s hard to deny; at the same time, it’s touched each individual in a distinct way, and for a particular reason, and at a different point in the long, tumultuous year.
The goal of The 2020 Newsletter project, created by Kristen Tsetsi and Alan Davis, is to gather a cross-section of experiences from as wide a variety of people as possible and to publish them here. Many of those experiences will be compiled in the print and e-anthology The 2020 Newsletter, 100 percent of whose proceeds will be donated to the United Way Covid-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, helping “communities around the world respond, recover and rebuild to be more equitable and resilient.”
The stories on this website and in the anthology can be considered a kind of memoir of the year, memorializing either its horribleness or its personal gifts. It can also be considered a vibrant snapshot of a time people will otherwise be reading about in truncated, impersonal, official detail in 20, 50, 100 years.
These letters, in the writers’ own voices, will fill in the gaps of dry history with unique, lived realities that won’t fit into a textbook or a classroom lecture.
But right now, in this present day, they’ll bring us together through our shared, if vastly different, responses to events that have otherwise made many of us feel isolated.