This week’s Inspired to Write post was written by the very talented Louise Jaques whose response prompted a rapid fire of words from my mother along the lines of “wow, wow, wow”. After visiting her blog, Mum raved about a particular post that I, too, thoroughly enjoyed. At my mother’s request, I went through the lovely connections all the way back to the original “how to write an ‘I am from’ poem” and promptly did so … Since then, there has been serious contemplation around where I am from – the wonderful experiences I have had, am having, and will have; the amazing people in my life who have influenced the person I am now and the person I am still growing into; and the delight of the process of reflection on my own personal history.
What delighted me as I traced my way through the various “I am from” posts was the way each person not only expressed their own unique upbringing but also adopted their own way to do this. My own “I am from” poem grew and developed as more memories and traditions came to me, and reading it makes me feel like I’ve put together a montage in words – snapshots of my life, each formed with the curve of a letter, the sound of a word, the meaning of a fragmented sentence.
In the interest of being more open and sharing my work, here it is …
I am from paper and books and ink, from Parker and Moleskine and Irish Breakfast Tea.
I am from the long-awaited rain, the creak of the windmill at night, the belly-flops in the plane.
I am from red earth, whispering gums, whirring cicadas, fragile bird eggs held in small hands.
I am from cups of tea and unsated talent, from strong women and wise men, from Courts and Thompson and Darrawong.
I am from the delight in words and respite in music, the crocheted blankets made from hand-spun wool, the 12 hour trip home, the Sunday morning phone calls,
From finish everything on your plate and I’ve never made a packet cake mix,
From I wish you’d do something with your writing and we have the same colour eyes, Pa,
From we want a special story and don’t stay up too late reading,
From My Sister and My Dranny, from Baby Bear and Steffy.
I am from nature and reverence for the earth,
From scented candles in trays of polished stones and inspiring words from admired people,
From smelling the rain and listening to it fall on the tin roof,
From appreciation of beauty, encouraged artistry, and celebration of creativity,
From frogs in the bathroom and geckos on the ceiling,
From faded music pages on the piano, an antique banjo with a story, and old violins on the wall.
I am from the Outback and the Skyscrapers, the dry dirt and the uneven pavement, the thousand stars of night and the thousand city lights,
I am from roast mutton with rosemary and salt, decadent chocolate cake with berries and cream, cherry ripe ice cream eaten from the bottom up, toast for dinner.
I am from the playing piano at Mass, the warm towels at Widgee Downs, the singing songs at the top of our lungs, the reading books under the covers with a torch, the sitting on the back of the ute, the five kids on a four-wheeler, the throwing darts in the shed, the ache of goodbyes.
I am from the Melbee Cottage walls, the boxes in storage, the journals never re-opened, the petals seen through my sister’s lens, the stories half-finished and the poems incomplete, and the reflection in the mirror that shows all of these things.
My writing wish for you this week is for you to reflect on where it is you are from. Write your own “I am from” poem in whatever variation you choose. Think of the wonderful things that make you you, and celebrate them.