Where I’m From

I am from pine, molasses, and pure stubborn will.  I’m from no ma’ams, howdy y’alls, and yes pleases.  I am from cast iron, fat back, and collard greens.

I am from cornbread.

I am from combines, chicken coops, and cow licks.  From Rock rivers, gravel plants, and petunia festivals.  I am from sing-alongs, sibling rivalries, and Snickers salads.

I am from sweet shrub in hollers on the sides of weary mountains.  From dirt roads, one room school houses, and log cabins.  From the hard womb of a black walnut hull.

I am from blue jeans hidden under hand-me-down dresses.  I am from starched dress whites.  I’m from undulating hills and flat plains.  From reckons and from warshes.  I am from daffodil bouquets displayed in Campbell Soup cans.

I am from milkweed, and moonshine.  From stubborn crawdads clenched on freezing toes in babbling creeks.  From copperheads hiding in cords of wood.

I’m from scuppernong vines, fig trees, and flowered bonnets worn on wide, wooden porches.  I am from iced tea served in mason jars that held fireflies the previous evening.

I am from laughter.  I am from necessity.

I am from gratitude.

I read this post the other day from Karen over at her blog, Muttering.  (I get around, you know.)  Apparently it’s a writing exercise with a template and everything.  Of course I didn’t really bother to read that part.  I just thought it was so fun and lovely that I started doodling thoughts and that mess up there happened.  So, as per usual, I didn’t really play by the rules.  But it was still fun.  Go try it.  And then send me yours via whatever means is most comfortable for you – comments, blog posts, email – because I’d really like to know more about you.  And no, I don’t say that to all the blogosphere.  Unless they’re planning on picking up the bar tab.  I mean, a girl’s gotta do…


  1. muscadines, mayhaw jelly, strawberry-fig preserves, fresh-picked produce, shelling peas and butterbeans while sitting in a rocker on my great-grandma’s screened porch, getting eggs from the henhouse every day, Sunday Dinner after church – putting a sheet over the dinner table after, dirt roads to covered bridges, eating oysters at a fish camp by the river, driving a tractor picking peanuts at 10:00 PM ’cause they have to get off the ground, feeding the hogs, hunting dove with my grandpa and his dogs….

    I could go on and on.

  2. I loved this. It made me want Southern comfort food RIGHT NOW.

    Which is not surprising, considering how much I think about food. And my love of P. Dean.

      1. Okay I’m totally in tears. I owe you both margaritas just because. We should totally drink margaritas. At the same time.

        The coolest thing happened today though. I was (though I’ll deny this was me saying this because I hate it when other people say the shit I’m about to say) totally feeling inadequate about what I had written, it wasn’t poetic or good or as yummy as the ones I had read previously and I was going to give it another go one day (and you know how those things end up) when somebody came from here to there and left me a little comment. I took the time, in the middle of a crazy, demanding little kid filled day, to re-read my piece and I totally fucking loved it. Who. Knew. So I have learned a lesson again. Thanks for that, both of you.

        I am amazed at how you didn’t use the exercise itself and just did. That’s crazy! (Creative writing really freaks me out, I’m really good at the non-fiction stuff.) I *neeeeeed* you and your blog.

        Okay. Sheesh. One cider on an empty stomach and I’m a bit nuts.


    1. My grandparents drove up to Dixon, Il with their trunk filled with them for my parents’ wedding. Now Dad leaves a can in the kitchen for Mom on their anniversary. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any cuter.

  3. There was this old mountain man when your mom came south who said, I’m from Chicago, and I’m gonna stay from Chicago.”

  4. I loved this piece! You captured a time and a place and a
    state of mind; all in one beautifully crafted poem!

  5. hhhhm. have to think about this one.
    this was beautiful… sends me into memories of my grandparents who lived in Tennessee… That and flopping into a pile of vintage pillows, go figure.

  6. What can I say that hasn’t been said?

    I’m not sure how this would work out for me. I lived in six different states and two foreign countries before I left home. I’m not really sure where I come from. Lol.

    But yours was amazing.


  7. I tried so hard to do this and make it flow easy like Sunday morning. But at the end of the day when I got off the floor to re read it there was nothing but nail guns, a shovel, two horseshoes and someones old toupee hanging on a hook behind my door.
    A poet I’m not. A violent poorly educated thug? Maybe.

  8. I’ve been trying to write one of these for a while now and it keeps coming out all dark and seedy, like I was raised by angry cultists in a plywood shack. I’m still tweaking it.

    Yours was lovely though.

  9. You never cease to inspire. Here it is:

    I am from shtetls long gone. I am from bare feet on dirt roads, and wagons pulled by aged horses. I am from the awe of endless forests. I am from rags stuffed in torn shoes during winter. I am from too much hunger and too little comfort.

    I am from men bent over prayer books, women bent over copper pots. I am from small children hiding under kitchen tables when the soldiers come.

    I am from fear and violence and from holocaust.

    I am from ships and endless miles. I am from warm bodies and whispered hope. I am from new sounds and sights and a new name.

    I am from a rebirth.

    I am from shoes and concrete and crowded streets. I am from noise. I am from safety.

    I am from opportunity, and from believing that when the sun sets, it will rise again.

    I am from gratitude. I am from joy. I am from endless possibility.

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