Autumn

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Do I Stay Christi...
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The Revisioners
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by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Goodreads Author)
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We Too: Essays on...
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Yaa Gyasi
“History is storytelling,’” Yaw repeated. He walked down the aisles between the rows of seats, making sure to look each boy in the eye. Once he finished walking and stood in the back of the room, where the boys would have to crane their necks in order to see him, he asked, “Who would like to tell the story of how I got my scar?”

The students began to squirm, their limbs growing limp and wobbly. They looked at each other, coughed, looked away.

“Don’t be shy,” Yaw said, smiling now, nodding encouragingly. “Peter?” he asked. The boy who only seconds before had been so happy to speak began to plead with his eyes. The first day with a new class was always Yaw’s favorite.

“Mr. Agyekum, sah?” Peter said.

“What story have you heard? About my scar?” Yaw asked, smiling still, hoping, now to ease some of the child’s growing fear.

Peter cleared his throat and looked at the ground. “They say you were born of fire,” he started. “That this is why you are so smart. Because you were lit by fire.”

“Anyone else?”

Timidly, a boy named Edem raised his hand. “They say your mother was fighting evil spirits from Asamando.”

Then William: “I heard your father was so sad by the Asante loss that he cursed the gods, and the gods took vengeance.”

Another, named Thomas: “I heard you did it to yourself, so that you would have something to talk about on the first day of class.”

All the boys laughed, and Yaw had to stifle his own amusement. Word of his lesson had gotten around, he knew. The older boys told some of the younger ones what to expect from him.

Still, he continued, making his way back to the front of the room to look at his students, the bright boys from the uncertain Gold Coast, learning the white book from a scarred man.

“Whose story is correct?” Yaw asked them. They looked around at the boys who had spoken, as though trying to establish their allegiance by holding a gaze, casting a vote by sending a glance.

Finally, once the murmuring subsided, Peter raised his hand. “Mr. Agyekum, we cannot know which story is correct.” He looked at the rest of the class, slowly understanding. “We cannot know which story is correct because we were not there.”

Yaw nodded. He sat in his chair at the front of the room and looked at all the young men. “This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on. But now we come upon the problem of conflicting stories. Kojo Nyarko says that when the warriors came to his village their coats were red, but Kwame Adu says that they were blue. Whose story do we believe, then?”

The boys were silent. They stared at him, waiting.

“We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”
Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing

James Thurber
“Beautiful things don't ask for attention.”
James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

J.K. Rowling
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Bobbie Ann Mason
“One day I was counting the cats and I absent-mindedly counted myself.”
Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

Flannery O'Connor
“I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.”
Flannery O'Connor

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