Okay, a break from soulmates. I received an unexpected, much-needed gift this week and got to spend a couple of hours with my writing teacher, Miss Lisa Jones.
I discovered Lisa when I was in a coffee shop doing research for my upcoming trip to the Congo. I was thinking I should learn how to write so I could share my experience with friends and family, looked up from my computer and there was her flyer posted on the community board. I was sitting next to her within a couple of weeks.
Four years later, now a self-declared writer, I got to revisit the process of trying to follow her prompts and find the courage to read what I came up with (which is never what I want it to be) out loud to a room full of strangers. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and always sends me soaring way outside my comfort zone.
Poetry. I kinda hate it. I don’t know how to do it, and I always feel like I’m imitating Dr. Suess.
So, of course, our first prompt was a poem. I’ll share it with you and what I came up with (which I think sounds like a darker, more jaded version of Dr. Suess).
Okay, so a challenge: I’m gonna pass this off to one of you, and if you are up for it, I would love to see your version, your story.
When you post, or if you prefer to pass, send to on to someone you think might want to experiment with it.
The first victim, if he so chooses, is Tom being Tom. :o)
My version of Lyon’s original:
Where I’m From: The Lion’s Lair
I am from pigtails, teddy bears, things tied in bows
From cow pastures, barbed wire, dry, dusty roads
From Vodka bottles buried
beneath dirty clothes
I’m from TV dinners, pudding pops, sweetened ice tea
From silence, shame, and muffled screams
From two best friends
only I could see
I am from weeping willows, bare feet, Fourth of July
From Bible study, train tracks, the cicadas’ cry
From climbing trees, scraped up knees
I’m from dreaming of anyplace but here
From invented fairytales and judgmental stares
From her inevitable return
from the lion’s lair
I am from faded photographs of faces unknown
From a wild heart with a gypsy’s soul
From an untethered spirit
that can never let go
Where I’m From
~ George Ella Lyon
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.
I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded–
leaf-fall from the family tree