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Documenting Cleveland: May 12, 2020

Roughly a month into Ohio's stay-at-home order, Literary Cleveland invited everyone in the city to participate in a collective writing experience documenting what happened in greater Cleveland on May 12.


Roughly a month into Ohio's stay-at-home order, Literary Cleveland invited everyone in the city to participate in a collective writing experience documenting what happened in greater Cleveland on May 12. The response was overwhelming: 140 people from all across the city submitted 532 entries for a combined 95,880 words and 346 photos. In other words, Clevelanders wrote the equivalent of a novel.

Today we are proud to present the results of this project.

First, we invite you to read this longform article published by Scene Magazine which combines excerpts from select submissions into a single essay telling the story of one day during the pandemic in Cleveland.

Explore the Map

Second, we encourage you to visit the chronological, interactive map we created featuring all 532 entries submitted for this project. There you can explore everything that happened in Cleveland on May 12 by location, by time, or even by keyword.

Both the longform article and the interactive map contain birthdays and weddings, herons and haircuts, Zoom classes and telemedicine and forgotten masks, plus a centipede named Cedric. Each individual joy, sorrow, frustration, love and loss combines to form a mosaic that speaks with more beauty and complexity than any one person could accomplish alone. Our hope is that the range and intimacy of experiences described here will provide a unique account of this historic time for those in the future as well as an opportunity to bring all of us closer together today.

Thanks to everyone who participated. Please read and share.

Contributors include: Abby Vandiver, Alexander A. Pogrebinsky, Alice Butts, Alyse Krevh, Amy Hirzel, Amy Raufman, Amy Rosenbluth, Andrew Watkins, Anita Dacanay, Ann Marie Falcone, Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh, Barbara Hacha, Barbara Howell, Becki Robards, Brandi Larsen, Brandon Baker, Brandon Vulpitta, Bruce Checefsky, Cara Byrne, Carie Kemenyes, Carolyn Nemec, Cathy Barber, Claudia Taller, Cora Linderbach, Corey Miller, Craig Webb, Dana McSwain, Daniel Schlossberg, David Hansen, David Liam Kyle, Debbie Winters, Dee Moore, Don Lee, Donna Fox, Eliese Goldbach, Ellen Euclid, Erin Dolan, Gail Nyoka, Geoffrey Landis, George Graham, Haley Steinhardt, Hank Stewart, Harriett Logan, Jackie Krogmeier, Jackie Mitchell, Jacky Grimm, Jacqi Loewy, Jason Lady, Jay Casey, Jay Roller, Jennifer Blakeney, Jewon Woo, Jing Lauengco, Joan Hoover, Joe Kapitan, John (Jed) Davies, John Beeker, John Bruening, John Zajc, Joni McNary, Jordan Brown, Josh Davis, Joyce Hicks, Karen Gygli, Karim Ragab, Karin McKenna, Kate Zirkle, Kathryn Flinn, Kathryn Hack, Kathy Ewing, Kecia Lynn, Keith Manos, Kelly Boyer Sagert, Kelly Donahue, Ken Wood, Lara Lillibridge, Laura DeMarco, Laura Dempsey, Laura Ford, Laura Grace Weldon, Leigh-Anne Dennison, Leon Michaud, Les Hunter, Leslie Pryce, Linda Butler, Linda New, Lisa Chiu, Lisa Judge, Lisa O'Rourke, Lori Ashyk, Lou Brodnick, Lydia Coutré, Maggie Allan, Maggie Kelly, Mandy Metcalf, Margaret Stahl, Maria Agosto, Marion Boyer, Mark Rabkin, Mary Defer, Mary Gonsowski, Mary Turzillo, Matt Kuhns, Matthew Huested, Meghan Louise Wagner, Melissa Burovac, Melissa Hintz, Michael Loderstedt, Mimi Plevin-Foust, Nancy Sotka, Nina McCollum, Rachel Dissell, Ray McNiece, Renee Sentilles, Ria TerraNova-Webb, Rita Kueber, Robin Caruthers, Rosalind Hughes, Rosaline Daley, Shannon Cooch, Sharon Seyfarth Garner, Shawn C. Mishak, Sheila Alease Ferguson, Shelley Andrews-Hinders, Steve Pryce, Stuart Terman, Sue Botos, Sujata Lakhe, Susan Beech, Susan Oelbracht, Susan Rakow, Terianne Hannibal, Thomas Wagner, Tim Uhr, Trudy Hutchinson, Vicki Heigel, Vicky DiMichelle, Vince Robinson, Vincent O'Keefe, Zoe Felber.

Thanks to Austin Lawrence for many hours of technical assistance putting this project together.

This experiment is inspired by the What Happened project by Essay Daily as well as "April 15, 2020: A Coronavirus Chronicle" by The New Yorker contributors.

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