Where I'm From


This is an exercise that makes the rounds every now and then. I brought it out for my creative writing students yesterday. It's such a versatile, meaningful exercise that sounds good no matter how simple the vocabulary you use. I remember using it in a workshop, and then writing another version when I was blogging years ago. If you're interested, here's a template you can use to create your own poem, and more information on the author who I believe started the whole thing. 
If you write your own version, let me know, I'd love to read it! 

Where I'm From

I am from Ten Rod Road, garden hoses and sprinklers all summer long, Ball jars that pop on sticky afternoons, and T's salsa. 

I am from shared bedrooms, revolving furniture, forever open doors. 

I am from the daffodil beds, the tire swing, the scent of lilacs on spring breezes. 

I am from shoes set out for Saint Nicholas, Easter dresses and patent leather, from deep and long held grudges, from Dorothy and Rae, Mary Jane, Tee and all the sisters. 

I am from seamstresses and pipe fitters, quilters and dancers, from strong willed and tough love and lots of laughter. 

From because I said so and make do and be good and I love you. 

I am from kitchen sink baptisms, maroon fabric covered cushions in the Congregational church pews, from choir songs and natures hymns of birdsong. 

I am from the hills of Johnstown, from Germany, Ireland, and Wales, from Saint Patrick and Saint Lucia, warm potato salad, pork and sauerkraut, apple pie and chocolate cake for breakfast.

From unions, Temple, and tales from Elkins Park. From rosary beads and a portrait brought home from the war. 

I am from telescopes and kaleidoscopes, from photo collages in the hall and sepia toned photographs kept in shoe boxes, from hand sewn clothes and quilts and stories...


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