A poem by George Ella Lyon called "Where I'm From," has been around the internet for awhile, but I've never felt drawn to make the time to try it.
But then it was assigned to my son's English class, and I had to wonder why it never called to me. After talking to him about it, we saw all the directions an assignment like this could take. You could complete this like a driver's license application, or beat poetry night, you could be as abstract as a dream. That's it right there, how do you write about yourself?
Funny, serious, heartbreaking, a reporting of facts? Any way and as many ways that feel like you, you could write forever. The work is in taking yourself on. The pondering of you.
The undeniable feature of writing your "Where I'm From" is that you realize no one can do it for you. You're the only one.
I encourage you to make the time for your "Where I'm From", like I did with mine here:
It is truly a moving experience.
Where I'm From
I am from early morning voices humming in the dawn, from flowered aprons and wooden mortars and pestles.
I am from a house where the kitchen was home, small faces pressed against windows, breathing out steam to make our artist's canvas.
I am from cumin, cilantro, coarse meal, ground fine by a garden's rock.
I am from sad melodies and voices that break, from Lilias, and Rositas, and Anas and Marias.
I am from dreams brazenly spoken and sighs kept in silence.
From the one who once held so much to starting anew.
I am from time-worn beads grooved from prayer, from belief strong enough to break strands.
I'm from stories of miracles told with a hush, from streets of cobbled bricks and the mountains beyond.
From an Abuela who held me, in arms that were never too full, too busy, too tired.
I am from pieces and bits, smudged faded scraps of her words, born in her soul and written by hands that swept my tears away into my curls.
++++++++++++++++Here is the basic Where I'm From template. *I'd love it if you tried it with your kids.
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).
* * *