Humans have been telling stories for as long as humans have existed. From cave paintings to Greek epics to 280 character tweets, humans love to tell stories. And everyone has a story to tell.
Nine years ago, Professor Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers started a class called Tell Your Story Walking, named after a Deb Talan song. The objective of the class is to write first-person creative nonfiction narratives. Students write weekly stories, refining their skills with each assignment and learning how to express their experiences as profoundly as they can. This anthology was born out of a need to tell some of the hundreds of stories written over the years that the authors never had the chance to share outside of the classroom.
While I was stuck in my house all summer, I had the opportunity to read. A lot. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, anything you can think of—I probably read it. Reading about distant parts of the world and people I never would have met otherwise made me feel connected during a time when physically I was anything but. While reading this anthology, I hope you feel the same way I did: connected and informed. Human-to-human interaction—although through a page rather than face-to-face—is the best way we can find the compassion and empathy we need to survive through one of the most tumultuous times most of us have ever lived through.
In this inaugural issue of Tell Your Story Walking, we explore those connections—both during the pandemic and before, when the author never imagined this would happen. We invite you to connect with our authors as you read. Learn a new hobby. Discover the St. Thomas that the tourists don’t see. Hug your grandma. And flash back to your childhood.
Maybe someday we’ll tell your story too.
Managing Editor Fall 2020