As we close out 2022, I want to take a moment to recap and say thanks to all of our contributors and readers. We had a year of ups and downs, starting with me deciding to take over the site from founder Ross Anderson, who had, along with myself and some others, started this journal in April 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic. Ross found the combination of writing for the journal and managing the stable of contributors to be more than he had bargained for in his retirement. Original hopes for a much larger community of contributors had dwindled to a dedicated group that can be found on our “Rainshadow Community” page. I stepped in, cautiously, with the understanding that if we didn’t get more contributions, we would fold.
So we relaunched last April with a post by long time contributor Karen Sullivan, called “Shrinking our lives”. Over the next few months, others joined in. Our stats continued to grow, and we can count on at least 3 to 4000 views per month, with some months much higher. Our biggest win of the year was to get Fred Obee (and with permission by Tom Robbins) to contribute the “Lost Commencement Address of Tom Robbins.” which brought in 54,000 views in May alone and continues to be the largest viewed post of all time, by a lot.
Great newer contributors included the addition of Diana Talley with her irreverent memoirs, called “Shavings in my Brassiere” drawing in a new set of readers. Corey Parker joined us with her tales of sailing the East Coast. Wendy Feltham has done very well received articles on birds and other animals of the area, as did Steven Carr Hampton. Peggy Myre contributed data focused articles fitting of her background in database production. Karen Clemens brought us The Farm, a gothic tale for Halloween. Ann Candioto brought us stories of gardening, one of the largest pastimes here on the Peninsula. Ted Olinger penned a column about “The Book John Steinbeck almost wrote about the Pacific Northwest.” Mary Morgan brought us a book review, and I would love to see more reviews.
Our original founders continued to bring us entertaining reading. Ross Anderson has focused on the people of the peninsula along with overviews of current issues, with well researched articles. Joel Rogers continues to do the “On the Hard” column of renovations and histories of ships of all kinds in the shipyard and showcased his superb photography for us. Mark Clemens allowed us to serialize his novel, “Infinite Tenderness”. Karen Sullivan regaled us with “The Deranged Gourmet” and “When I was a Secret Agent” among many other short stories. Carl Berger brought us A Gritty, Poetic Story of Misadventure. And of course, Wanda Fuca could not help but weigh in on the international Port Townsend trans controversy, in “A Tempest in a Y Pool.”
Original stories from the first year of publication continue to pull in readers. “So Long Pygmy Kayaks” by Ross Anderson from June of 2020 is our second biggest search result. Charlie Bermant’s “Garth Hudson PT Performance Remembered” from 2021 also continues to bring in hits daily. (Garth was a member of The Band, and this post has been referenced many places on the web).
I’m open to fresh writing, with the caveat that if I like something, I run it by our other members and see what they think. We have one Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in our group, and also long-time professional writers, so our standards are rigorous. I have turned down some writers as their stories either didn’t fit our focus, or the consensus of our group was that they needed to work on honing their writing skills further. Feel free to send me a short description of what you would like to contribute, and I’ll take a serious look at it. As usual, we do this entire journal as a labor of love, and do not pay for any of the articles.
Once again, thank you all for what you have helped create on the Rainshadow Journal. We look forward to bringing you more news, opinion, and stories from “the upper left coast” in 2023.