Where I am From

One thing I love about collage is the way a story can be told using images and color, texture and shapes. Bits and pieces. And I love a good story don't you? But it's words, just plain simple words, that will always be my biggest love. I miss the way I would hold my journal on my lap in the mornings curled up small in a chair out on the porch and the way I would slowly, oh so very slowly, work my way through writing a short story. It took me forever to call a story finished-I was always changing, never satisfied but I lived for that sentence that flowed so perfectly into the next. Writing is not something that comes easy to me. Imagining the characters and plots-that part was natural but getting it all across was where I struggled.

One thing I love about collage is that I complete a piece quickly and don't linger over it. I accept accidents and follow my intuition. Tonight I wondered if doing collage art this past year will have changed the way I write. I feel like I need to find out. Will I be more confident and trust myself more? I hope so. I have made a promise to myself to awaken earlier each morning and pick up a story where I left it a year ago. It was, or rather IS the story of a woman named Mirlie and a man named Gabe. Their voices have been the first thing I am met with in the morning as I linger in bed those moments before the alarm sounds the second time after I hit the snooze. I feel a strong need to tell their story. I have been trying to think of a way to combine the writing and the collage and I will keep you posted on what I figure out with this.

A quick shout out to "The Zinnia Tales." Last year I had the wonderful experience of having a short story published in this book. It was brought to my attention via email the other day that this book is now nominated for the Appalachian Writer's Association Book of the Year Award. How cool! Mountain Girl Press Publisher-Writer Tammy Robinson Smith is an amazing woman and I felt so honored to meet her and the other writers at the booksigning. There I am in the black signing away!

I am sorry this is turning into quite the long post but I have to ask: Do you know this poem?:

Where I'm From by George Ella Lyons

I am from clothespins,from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.

I am from the dirt under the black porch.

(Black, glisteningit tasted like beets.)

I am from the forsythia bush,the Dutch elmwhose 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 boxs

pilling 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.

Isn't that wonderful? Where are you from? Do you have a poem?

Using that poem as I guide I came up with this:

I am from the pot of water always on the woodstove, from red Kool-Aid and the suitcase by the back door.

I am from the rusted metal on the green and white trailer and the twin bed shared with a sharp-elbowed sister.

I am from the mulberry trees high up on Buffalo Ridge, the tiny leaves of a mimosa caught like salt, precious in a mason jar.

I am from deer season is in and don't get above your raisings, from Ida Belle Lily Esther, Melva Jo and Dillie Mae.

I am from quick tempers and moonshine, from "the moon is following me because I am special."

From "get your nose out of that book" and "say the word 'fool' and you'll go straight to hell."

I am from speaking in tongues on Sunday, superstitions and gossip on the party line during the week.

I'm from the mountains stretched out in colors of blue and evergreen, from corn bread in a hot skillet, snap beans and warm tomatoes in the sun.

I'm from crying children running scared through cornfields, drunken fathers chasing fast with loaded guns, from grandfathers pulling time and grandmothers shot in the heart.

I am from the gold tattered box in the upstairs closet, from cheap frames on the stairs and from polaroids stolen from the ugly orange and green albums daddy has taken and won't ever share til he's dead and gone.

Well---Now that I have made myself all emotional I guess I should say goodnight.

I would love to read your poems.

wonderful creative blessings to you,



Elaine Kerr said...

Wow. Good, strong stuff. Think I'll be reading this post a few more times.

Mrs. Staggs said...

Congratulations on the book.
I am familiar with this poem and over the last year or so I've read a few poems that others have written, when inspired by it. They are always so beautiful, even when the "things" haven't always been so. Everything that we come from, has made us who we are. Most especially the things we rise above. Your poem is beautiful Tricia.
I don't think I'm up to writing my poem just yet, but if I ever do, I'll share it with you.
Take care.

annie lockhart said...

tricia, your poem is wonderful. i feel a nudge to sit and write my poem...it may bubble up some stuff for me...so it may take a while. but, i think it would be healing for me. yours is so real and honest and beautiful. thanks for sharing. congrats on the book!

Jamie said...

I am speechless Tricia. Beautiful, strong imagery in your poem. Congratulations on the book. I know you feel very proud. Your package arrived today safe and sound and wonderful, just like I knew it would:) Thank you so much for sharing yourself. Love, Jamie

Catherine said...

I got goosebumps reading your poem and was moved to write to you. Thanks for sharing and visiting me as well. I have heard of you, your name, and I will be back to read more. Keep writing, don't be afraid your work isn't good enough. That's just crazy talk!

Tammigirl said...

What an amazing piece of poetry and you say the writing comes hard?! This was an amazing story I just read. I'm so glad you shared.

Corey Moortgat said...

What a wonderful "exercise"- writing a personal poem inspired by that original. Your poem is beautiful- I feel inspired to try my own, when I get a few minutes! You should create a piece of art illustrating yours!

merryredhed said...

Loved your poem. As a fellow southerner it stirred up so many memories for me. Thanks for sharing.

BonnieRose said...

I wrote my post today, inspired by my friend Kyra.. who posted her poem today as well. check my blog.. post is called KYRA INSPIRED.

cookievf said...

Tricia -
With tears welling up in my eyes, I want you to know how deeply I felt the words in your poem! Every word was a picture and I felt like a little girl in the same room seeing all of the images..tasting them..smelling them! I am without words on how it touched me inside. Thank you for sharing yourSELF and your aMAZing writing skills! Looking forward to reading more on your blog. - vicki xo (a heart <3)

Brandie said...

I think I could read that over and over. It's so revealing and beautiful.
And... as I've said before, Someday you will have your pictures.

Talk soon,

Brandie said...

And also...
OMG you are a published author. I need to check into purchasing the book.

I am very proud to know you!


Amy said...

I read your poem twice and I am so proud of your strength for putting it all into words. Wonderful. Honest.
I read a quote one time (can't remember by whom) "Just remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a perfect family"
I wonder- Is there such a thing?!

* mY fRiEnDs cALL mE Rella * said...

Your poetry is quite astonishing. I felt it start shyly and quiet almost and then WHAM, a powerful cresendo that nearly knocked me down as I could hear the words. Powerful, raw, real. I sincerely hope, that with pen in hand, this piece is captured somewhere. This is quite special.

Best ~ Rella