It’s been quite a year for ethandezotelle.com.
After taking over two years to get to 400 subscribers, I’m now at almost 550 after an additional five weeks. Post views skyrocketed, nearly quintupling over 2019. And the number of posts overall surpassed 1,000.
Given the rapid growth, I thought it’d be fun to look back at the 10 most-viewed posts from 2020. I’ll do the same with Care Packages later today.
I’ve never really done anything that merited a Top 10 list before, so this is pretty exciting. Let’s see what readers were interested in this year. And if you haven’t read the pieces yet, I encourage you to click each link and check them out.
Honorable Mention: Living In Holland
This piece was written on the day everything changed and the big shutdown began in the United States. It’s an examination of the grief cycle and how it applies to a variety of losses, and I’m proud of how it turned out. I ended up revising the piece and recording it for Vermont Public Radio’s Brave Little State podcast. Living In Holland was a real turning point for the blog.
10. Thank You: An Open Letter To Educators Retiring During the Global Pandemic
I know a lot of folks involved in education who retired at the end of the 2019/2020 school year. There was so much understandable focus on students and teachers as they ended the weirdest year ever and began considering what the next would bring. I wanted to take a little time to acknowledge those who were ending long, dedicated carers in the last way they would have imagined.
9. On God and Godzilla: Ohio Pastor, Cryptid Enthusiast, Kaiju Fan Discusses Impact of COVID-19
Mark Matzke is a fascinating guy. He’s an amalgam of diverse interests, and he was one of the first religious leaders I saw presenting services live online after the shutdown. Mark was kind enough to chat with me about a wide range of subjects, and as a cryptid nerd, it was a thrill to interview him.
8. Some Wonderful People Need Your Help
This is the most recent piece to turn up in the Top 10. Written earlier in December, it’s a call for donations to support the affordable senior housing facility I work at. At this point, it’s safe to say that the fundraiser was a success, and I was excited get positive feedback and support from a few readers.
7. Six Months Later …
This is a review of all the changes in my life between March 17 and Sept. 17. It was cathartic to lay it all out and place it in context. With more than three additional months having passed since I wrote this, I feel confident in saying that when March 17 shows up again, change will still hang heavily in the air, and adaptation will still be a prerequisite for just getting through each day.
6. An Unsolicited Commencement Address To the Graduating Class of 2020
My daughter graduated from high school in June. It was, of course, a very different affair from past years. I really didn’t want her to go through the graduation experience without having to sit through a commencement speech, so I wrote one of my own. I posted it on the blog and also read it to her at a small, celebratory bonfire in our backyard the night after her unusual ceremony.
5. Next Memorial Day
Two and a half months of a near-total shutdown wasn’t enough to convince many people that social gatherings should be avoided (hell, over nine months still isn’t enough for some), and I wrote this piece as an expression of frustration over the “business as usual” attitude held by so many over Memorial Day weekend. I got a ton of positive feedback on this one.
4. Of Darlings and Decisions
My alma mater, Northern Vermont University – Johnson (nee Johnson State College) was very nearly shut down, along with two other schools in the Vermont State College system. A tremendous outcry from the public and the resultant political scrambling saved them for the time being, but future plans are still uncertain. Of Darlings and Decisions is a consideration of the many difficult choices that are being made and will continue to be made as COVID-19 takes its toll on the economy.
3. Gathering in Isolation: VT Woman Brings Together People & Information
I interviewed Tammy Wells, an incredible woman who started a COVID-19 information clearinghouse for Vermonters on Facebook. She was gracious enough to open up and share her story, even as she dealt with obnoxious online trolls. The group she started has evolved over the past few months and can now be found as The 802 on Facebook.
2. Map of a Shrinking World
Of all the posts on this list, Map of a Shrinking World is the one I’m most surprised to see show up, let alone as the second most-viewed piece. Written in October, this piece is a response to escalating COVID-19 data in Vermont and nationwide. Vermont had proven to be an oasis in a desert of infection and death, and counties in neighboring states were becoming safer places to be. Then it all changed, and even Vermont became a much less safe place to be. I fired this piece off in a heightened emotional state and wasn’t even sure it made much sense. Readers related to it, though, and that’s really all a writer is looking for at the end of the day.
1. A Must-Read for Educators, Parents & Pretty Much Everybody Else, Too
Summer brought with it ongoing anxiety around what the 2020/2021 school year would bring. This piece is a combination of my thoughts and those shared by a Vermont superintendent. I’m thrilled to look back on this piece and say that at least here in the Green Mountain state, the school year has worked out better than many of us expected. Not perfectly and not without problems, but better than expected.
So that’s 2020. What will 2021 bring for the blog? I have no idea. I couldn’t have predicted writing any of this stuff on Dec. 31, 2019. I’m excited to see what the future brings for ethandezotelle.com, and I”m even more thrilled to have you along for the ride. Thanks for reading!