The Solidarity of Storytelling

Written for SheLoves, photo art by Chervelle Camille

We sat around a rectangular table. There were 12 of us, maybe 15. Our professor was the last one to join us at the start of each class and always came in with a tan file folder in one hand and an army green thermos in the other. Without fail, he greeted us with a smile and kind eyes. His everyday class attire was a plaid button up shirt with a cardigan. He combed his graying brown hair to the side just like my grandpa.
We waited for him to settle into his seat, open his thermos and pour a cup of tea into the lid-turned-cup. We were college students taking a class on memoir. We read memoir after memoir. Some I couldn’t put down and one I couldn’t finish because the rawness was so raw my mind couldn’t bite into it without feeling ill. We took turns leading our class discussion on the books we read, all the while preparing for our final assignment: to write and share our own piece of memoir. Our professor was seasoned in his work; he was unimpressed by what we knew and lit up with childlike curiosity when we were willing to bring a piece of ourselves to the table during discussion.
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