The Lion’s Lair & A Challenge

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
chasing fireflies

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.
(Black, glistening
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




44 thoughts on “The Lion’s Lair & A Challenge

  1. Absolutely brilliant, Brooke. I didn’t think of Dr. Suess when I read it, I thought about a little girl who overcame adversity and hurt and doubts and became an exceptional human being. I also thought that there isn’t really anything you can’t write; you are that ridiculously talented. The combination of your gift and that heart of yours is a powerhouse of possibility, and I can’t wait to see what is to come for you. Seeing you standing beside that bike brought a massive smile to my face – some things just don’t change. 🙂 I am excited to see what everybody comes up with regarding this challenge!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brooke, you sell yourself short; your poem is beautiful. I read a lot of poetry. I start almost every day reading poetry (often that of our friend Wulf, so you know I am reading good stuff) and I concur with Tanya that you can write anything and everything. As ever, you bring beauty and truth to your words and that is where it all begins. I love the butterfly on your cheek in the photo. You were always meant to live freely, to love freely and to mesmerize the world with your special brand of magic. You never fail to leave me in awe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I needed to hear that today, Susan. As always, you seem to choose the exact words that seep in and fill the spaces that feel hallow.
      I suppose I was meant to love and live freely. I’m learning, however, this comes at a high cost. It’s what everyone thinks they want, but in the end, it’s too risky. They retreat back to what is safe, controllable, with little to no risk of feeling or losing too much. I’m not sure which is more painful at this point. Anyway, a bit of a tangent, but what’s swirling around in my head today.
      Sending lots of love to you, freely, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brooke, I feel your struggle. I feel it in my heart as I read your words, and I wish so much that I could quell the ache, but I know that yours is a heart that feels immensely and completely. Don’t ever beat yourself up about the moments of retreat into safety, into stillness; they are vital moments that mend and heal. When I am in the grips of sorrow, feeling the weight of it in my bones, I try and remember that the feelings of joy will return, and when they do, I will feel them as intensely as the pain. I believe this is true for you as well. Sending lots of love your way.


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  4. From Writing to Freedom I worked my way back to your post, and then I also found myself writing
    a post based on “Where I’m from”. Thanks for the prompt! I think my favourite part of your poem was the “two best friends only I could see” 😛 Maybe you’re not a huge fan of poetry but I enjoyed reading it

    Liked by 1 person

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