For the Writers: A Morning Prompt

I know there are a few writers out there, many of whom will know the challenge of daily writing. At Casa Del Soul, daily writing isn't actually the problem. The problem, in my dear late Mom's words: "It's that god-damned dog." So since there is a substantial degree of canine whining nearby and a long walk is mandatory,  today will again be brief. Here, I share with you a short writing prompt from an education class I took last week. This activity was part of a "cultural understanding" segment of the course, in which we asked the question, "How can I better understand the beliefs and experience of my students?" 

This activity is called, "I Am From." As much as I cringed at having to share such personal thoughts on a Zoom call with a fellow public school teacher I've never met before, I did find the prompts evocative. Lo and behold, my partner was a dirt-biking girl, too! (Lesson: Our eye-roll tendencies generally do not serve us well in the long run.)

The prompts: 

Using the stem "I am from" for each stanza, mentally go through old family photos from your life, and describe:
  • Familiar items found around your home
  • Sights, sounds, and smells from your neighborhood 
  • Names of foods and dishes enjoyed at family gatherings
  • Familiar family sayings
  • Names of relatives or other important people who are a link to your past.
So here was mine. Writer and poet friends, give it a shot. Proctor Lindsay says it's ok to immediately disregard the instructions in your second draft. Some call it poetic license; others call it writing. I left off the last bullet above in my second draft, for example, because once I got my favorite family quote out, I had my punchline, and it was very clear that the poem was done. Bye for now. Have some joy today! 

I Am From

I am from motorcycles, snowmobiles, and swimming pools,

Church on Sunday and Wiffle ball wars.

Two-stroke engine smoke rising from the basement dirt,

Pots on the living room floor waiting for rain.


Homemade meatballs, pasta machines, cannolis, and pizzeles,

Ground beef and cabbage, cube steak mac and cheese.


Fix it with Duct tape and even the moon gets full.


I should have been born rich instead of good lookin'.