Shere Coleman

It was during a storytelling event that Paul offered me an invitation to submit a Covid story for his proposed anthology. Until then, I knew nothing of Our Bold Voices or Paul Iarrobino other than his stage presence that day, the story he told, and the warmth he shares. As Covidology project progressed, I soon came to appreciate his clarity of purpose, attention to detail, and the support systems he set in place for success. Projected dates never wavered and his intention to take Covidology on the road materialized with the same inclusive attention to detail. It is rare to find so many facets of a creative process in one person. Knowing more about Paul now, none of this surprises me. The project had room to address questions and needs of writers, how to offer clear and respectful feedback. In my case, the story I thought I would contribute, went beyond the intention of the anthology. Equally important Paul’s team of readers gave me honest and affective feedback that ultimately fed my writing process as I understood why my story had a different trajectory. I was able to submit instead, a poem that was enthusiastically accepted. Contributing to the anthology and reading my poem before audiences has surprised me in healing some of the longing and loss of our shared Covid experience. Reading and hearing the stories of each writer, I can honestly say, has contributed to my growth and embrace of life. I imagine Paul knew this was possible. New friends have been made and my world is bigger and stronger.

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