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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where I'm From...

One of the writing prompts Mama Kat presented this week was a bit different than anything I've tried my hand at before.  She challenged us to write a Where I'm From poem using a template (I've included it at the bottom of the post)...

Where I'm From

I am from a little blue suitcase, 
from Nestle's Quik
 and a quilted pallet on the floor of the den
I am from the happy yellow bike 
holding the shaggy white poodle with a fancy French name
 in the basket on the front
I am from the tall pine trees in the big green yard, 
 the sweet honeysuckle vines and dogwoods,
and the kudzu climbing the trees across the street
 and the tall end of the long brick ranch with the peeling gutters 
I am from new pajamas every year on Christmas Eve
 and big blue eyes with subtle grey specks

from Paul and Becky and Ollie Mae  
I am from the tenacious brokenhearted
and the try, try agains
From the By cracky!
and the Wake up! Wake up, you sleepy head! 
 Wake up! Wake up, get outta bed!   
I am from Just as I am, without one plea
and soul-saving Sundays at the Calvary Baptist Church

I’m from a cotton mill
 with a silver creek running through it,
 a river with a levee,
fresh fried okra and tomatoes from the garden
and sweet iced tea with the pintos and cornbread

from the stroke that left my great-grandmother 
(a small woman we ironically called Big Mama)
 unable to speak the words of love she so desperately
wanted to say each time she saw me and shoved 
 the green bills into my tiny hands
and the cancer that took her daughter (my grandmother)
at the age of fifty five...

In my garage is a grey plastic tote
packed to the brim with Kodak snapshots,
 Polaroids, portraits from Olan Mills Studios
and years of public school

I am from that tote,
that grey tote filled with the memories
of an introverted girl with big blue eyes and pigtails
with four yellow walls and a white canopy bed,
and a love for all things four-legged and furry...

and I am honored to be her future.

Below is the template. I encourage everyone to give this a try even if you don't have a blog...

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I’m from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

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  1. Wonderful!
    I just loved this prompt; I loved writing mine and I'm loving reading everyone else's.
    I think it touches something deep inside each of us to delve into our past and come up with the specific things that shaped who we are.
    Great job!

  2. Funny, I just did mine. Was just what I needed to break me from my funk. :)

    But I deviated a bit... 'cause I'm a bit of a deviant.

    It's set to post on Friday.

    Love yours! And LOVE LOVE LOVE your last sentance.

  3. Perfect description:) I could picture it in my memory!

  4. This really was a cool prompt and you did a wonderful job. Now I WISH I'd have chosen it. I like the parts about your great-grandmother. I always love to hear about older generations.

    hi from MK's

  5. This is really beautiful!! You did a wonderful job painting a picture of your memories. :)

  6. I'm really enjoying reading everyone's "Where I'm From" posts. You and I are from very similar places.

  7. I really like this prompt. This is a second one I read today and I enjoyed it so much. It's a really neat way to get to know people different way.

    Thank you so much for stopping by Queen Of Average.

  8. Not only do we have "Just As I Am" in common, but fried okra, too!! I'd forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder, and now, I'm craving some..... Also, I forgot about Olan Mills! I wonder how many of the photos in my own storage boxes have those two words stamped in the corner? Lastly, what a great last line to your poem. Beautiful!

  9. Whoa. Diane, I'm pretty sure we're two versions of the same person! Our posts were similar...and when I saw "Wake up, wake up you sleepy head!" I started singing it mom sang that to me so many mornings! Loved your post, girl. I feel like I know you!

  10. Olan Mills! And to think I thought that they where local! Great post :)

  11. Oh my this is lovely- I adore the ending about the future and the photo which is pure adorable!

  12. So beautiful. I loved the way you ended with your future. Love.

  13. So beautiful. I loved the way you ended with your future. Love.