September 7, 2012

Where I’m From

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 8:46 am
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My writing group does a monthly prompt. It’s usually something pretty loose so we can use it to work on our own writing, but this month I decided to kick it up a notch with an actual writing exercise. This takes the George Ella Lyon poem, “Where I’m from,” and turns it into a sort of adjective game, where you fill in some info and describe the places/people/events that formed you. My attempt is featured below. Here is another example over on Joshua Doetsch’s blog. Why not try it and post your results in the comments? I’d love to see where you’re from.

Where I’m From
I am from gnarly backyard cherry trees with tire swing sets, from homemade biscuits and Fun Light raspberry juice.
I am from the three storey white house with the spiral staircase, with creaking floorboards, echoing piano tunes and shadow movements in the corner of your eye.
I am from gravel road forget-me-nots, from sweltering tiger-lilies, from potted herbs and garden weed.
I am from Friday pizza nights and Saturday morning cartoons, from part-time musicians and seasonal travellers, from Sonja Helen and Lilian Rosa Main and Hjalmar Svanevik.
I am from soft-spoken arguments and hidden tears.
From late night orange picking in other people’s orchards, always accompanied by the same tune: your grandma believed stolen fruit tastes of bitterness. From wry laughs and insistences that politeness is no proof of virtue.
I am from music boxes playing the International and church on Christmas morning. From Sunday spiritualism and weeklong doubt.
I’m from the islet’s beach in the western fold in the icy north, from ox tail soup and slow-stirred strawberries.
From the slow rattle of smoke-filled lungs wrapped in yellowing skin and wrinkled hugs. From broken teeth and cracked smiles. From messy apartments coated in yesterday’s leftovers and regret.
I am from summers in Denmark. From windswept wild grass with roses and wild flowers growing on top of each other. From saltwater and soft dirt. From lonely walks by the ocean, dark blue with crashing white waves. From sharp-edged shells and freezing salt water. From dragging currents going out and left, away from where you thought you’d go. From the whispered hope that if you stop swimming, you might go anywhere.



  1. I really like it. And I especially like the last line.

    Comment by jmmcdowell — September 7, 2012 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

    • Thank you! 🙂

      I resisted this exercise until the very last minute, but once I actually started writing, it was a lot of fun.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — September 8, 2012 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  2. This exercise is one that led me to a lot of the bloggers I follow; I was enchanted by the answers to this, and dreamed I’d one day even write my own.

    Perhaps I will do that, now. Or . . . OK, eventually. I delighted in reading yours. It’s amazing how much can be learned from a handful of perfectly selected, beautifully placed words.

    Comment by Deborah the Closet Monster — September 9, 2012 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

    • I think you should. I resisted doing it for a long time, but when I finally sat down, I found a lot of really nice imagery and a lot of memories.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — September 9, 2012 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

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