Have you ever stopped to think about where you're from? I'm not talking about the geographic location, though that can be important- I'm talking about the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the tastes of your childhood. These are the things that have made you who you are.
If you had a difficult childhood, these things might have been pushed back into your subconscious, and it may be hard to recall the good among the bad. You might even question whether it's worth exploring, but I assure you that it is.
If you had a happy childhood, then these memories are probably readily available to you- they may even be things you chat about with your family members on a regular basis, so you don't think to write them down. But I think you should.
Last week I attended a very uplifting Enrichment Meeting where we learned about writing our own, "Where I'm From" poem. As we got into the class, I leaned over and said to my friend that it should be called, "How to Write a Poem That Will Make People Cry," because I assure you, the tears began to flow and the goosebumps on the arms rose as we listened to the beautiful array of "Where I'm From" poems that were shared.
Let me assure you, these were not poems from poets- rather, they were from ordinary women who just sat down to write following this template. Yet the power of the simple imagery and the effect of the descriptive words was enough to give you chills and put a lump in your throat.
I wrote down several thoughts for my own "Where I'm From" poem, and today I sat down to write it. I will share just a few lines with you, because I hope to give this as a gift to members of my family, some of whom read my blog and I want to save the whole thing for them. Here is just a sampling:
Where I'm From
I am from the Morgans and Lees of Virginia. I am from the white-blossomed dogwood tree, the ruby red cardinal, and the quiet rushing of the Shenandoah River. I am from the horse farm, the house in the desert, and the “double-wide” on the mountain at the turn in the long dirt road.
I am from wood shavings and alfalfa hay, the creosote fence, the salt blocks in the field and the squeaky metal swingset. I am from the fallen willow, the daffodils by the stream, the gravel driveway, and the most loyal and sweet floppy-eared Doberman in the whole world.
I am from cuddle bears, Legos, barbies, the marble chess set, the furry mustard-yellow bedspread, and mom’s cast bronze horse with the little chain reins that I wasn’t supposed to play with but always did...
Once I started, the ideas began to flow and it was hard to stop. The important thing is to try to pinpoint why these things are important or special to you and use words to describe those qualities. Was it the sounds of objects/people, their tastes, smells, or the feel of them? These are the things that will turn it from a list into a poem.
I would encourage each of you to take the time to explore where you're from and get it down on paper, whether the memories are painful or pleasant. In doing so, you will certainly gain a sense of self, and create a treasure that will bless you and your family for generations to come. For more about writing your own "Where I'm From" poem, check out this website.