An Exercise in Self Discovery

Where I’m From is a type of self-discovery in the form of a poem that has been classroom classic and taught throughout the world for years. It easy to do and creates a truly unique perspective of your roots – where you’re from.

The ‘Where I’m From’ movement began with George Ella Lyon – a poet, writer, musician, storyteller, and teacher. Her idea was inspired by a book by Jo Carson titled ‘Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet.’ Among the quotes in the book was this: “I want to know when you get to be from a place.” This quote inspired her to create a poem to help her find out just where she came from.

It’s easy to see why it became so popular because we all have our own story to tell and this poem ‘exercise’ helps you to zero in on the details of your story by exploring your background, home, childhood, upbringing and family.

If you want to give it a try, use the simple template below:

The WHERE I’M FROM Template

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I’m from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

Personally, I loved writing my ‘Where I’m From’ poem and it gave me new insights into myself and my life.

 Where I’m From


I’m from fresh white sneakers, and cold Coca Cola, and JiffyPop

I’m from the small towns with perfect lawns and friendly gossips

I’m from the Royal Oak trees, pink fragrant roses, and the soft blue sky

The lazy clouds that hang low and become faces, dogs and lizards.

I’m from Irish tempers quick and hot and belly laughs that wet your pants

From Patsy and Lucky and cantankerous Lottie

I’m from blue collars and steel men with strong dirty hands with hearty appetites for food and cold beer

From an ‘answer for everything’ and ‘just like your father’

I’m from altars, incense, and holy water

From jaunty Sunday hats

From parables repeated by brides of Christ and hushed prayers that rattle beads

From the green hills and heather teeming with faeries and leprechauns

Potato salad, hot dogs, and hamburgers

From the motorcycle man who siphoned gas from tractors and the roller rink darling who lied about her age – the brother who died too young and too alone

I’m from boxes in the attic that sealed in the smiles and forced poses

The faded black and whites glued to table tops – the grainy grins that fight the years

Early bed times and late night ice cream cones

Lakeside vacations and car trips

Lazy summer days eating red ripe tomatoes that drip down our faces

From public fireworks and sweet watermelons

And images never lost but buried deep inside 

copyright anita rodgers

How about you? Want to find out where you’re from in this truly unique and special way. Give it a try and feel free to post it in the comments. Or just keep it as a little treasure all your very own. 

Book Review – the WAR of ART by Steven Pressfield

 I bought the WAR of ART out of curiosity – not because I have stumbled onto Pressfield and his website and Writing Wednesdays blog posts. In fact, I ignored it for a while. Then I started to notice that many writers I admire mentioned it or its concepts, or quoted it. Despite the fact that I am usually disappointed by books on writing and often find them to be ‘nothing burgers’ I found a used copy of War of Art and bought it.

(the book was) Definitely not what I expected.

For those who are looking for a definitive ‘you fit slot a into slot b’ type of advice, this book is not for you. You will not find methods of writing faster, or exercises to break writer’s block, or prompts to inspire your imagination.

To me, the book was about the soul of writing. What it does to your soul and what it will do to your soul if you ignore your calling. It is not practical advice, it is metaphysical advice. It is not food for the mind but food for the soul.

the WAR of ART was what I needed to read at that moment. It was serendipity. It was the shift in perspective that I needed to make.

(as a side benefit) It also answered questions that had driven me up the wall.

I am glad I bought it and read it. I am changed because I did.

If you are looking for answers to the deeper questions not just about writing but about art, about your place as an artist, about submerging into your art, this book may be for you. If you are looking for a nuts and bolts, just the facts, and tell me what to do” kind of writing book, then you probably won’t appreciate this book.

My rating is five stars but it’s subjective – I don’t know if it will help you – I do know it helped me.

Good hunting, Annie

Book Review: A Twist of Truth by Diane Dickson

I’ve become quite a fan of author Diane Dickson and read many of her other books and Twist of Truth doesn’t disappoint.

In the opening, we meet Simon Fulton, a man recently released from prison for the murder of his own sister. He is filled with resentment and bitterness because he has spent years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Returning to his home town, he is ripe for revenge and justice.

But avenging the injustice of his situation isn’t nearly as black and white as he believes. And though he encounters plenty of antagonist people from his past who are not happy to see him back home, it’s his encounter with Gloria, owner of the local B&B, who has the most impact on him. Her kindness and compassion begins to change him and his plans shift.

What begins as an instinctual desire for revenge becomes a search for the truth and the possible promise of an actual future. However, the truth has some thorns of its own and the twist at the end turns everything on its head.

If you like good, solid mysteries that don’t need spewing viscera and car chases every two seconds, you’ll like this. Highly recommend. Five stars.

It’s all in the translation – British to American Terms Cheat Sheet

I thought it would be fun to do a cheat sheet that takes British terms/slang and converts to its American counterpart.  I think I got a little carried away because the list turned out to be huge.  And not too pretty.  Anyway, for lovers of trivia, and maybe even a few Brit writers here you go.  Annie

British American
Chips fries
Crisps chips
Bangers sausage
Biscuit cookie
Courgette zucchini
Aubergine eggplant
Jacket potato baked potato
Sweets candy
Ice lolly popsicle
Treacle molasses
Spud potato
Pudding dessert (pudding is one of many desserts in America, maybe you call it custard?)
Peckish hungry
Takeaway take-out or carry-out (or by its name “Chinese” “Italian” “Thai”)
Tin can
Cooker stove, cooktop, range
Eating Irons Cutlery, flatware, silverware, silver, table ware
Lounge Living room, great room
Garden Yard (although we often have gardens in our yards)
Pub bar, watering hole (if it’s bad it might be called a dive)
Flat apartment
High street main street
Loo bathroom / restroom / washroom/ head/john
Underground subway
Pitch field
Car park parking lot, parking structure
Motorway highway / freeway / expressway / interstate
Pavement sidewalk
Zebra crossing crosswalk
Snail Home Motor home,  trailer, RV, camper
Railway railroad
Cinema (at the) or (go to the) movies
Supermarket grocery store
Shop store
Lift Elevator
Phone box phone booth (although these are pretty rare in the U.S. these days)
Trainers sneakers, kicks
Jumper sweater
Waistcoat vest
Braces suspenders
Nappy diaper
Dummy pacifier / binkie
Kit uniform
Bum bag fanny pack
Trousers pants, slacks
Pants men’s underwear/briefs /boxers / shorts
Knickers ladie’s underwear/panties/briefs/ thong
Bonnet hood
Windscreen windshield
Indicator blinker/ signal
Boot trunk
Road surface pavement /blacktop/ road
Diversion detour
Lorry truck
Petrol gas
Flyover overpass / freeway bridge
Number plate license plate / tags
Artic semi truck, 18-wheeler,  big rig
Telly TV / television / boob tube
Settee couch or sofa
Hoover vacuum cleaner /  vac
Wardrobe closet
Secretray desk
Bin trash can / garbage can
Justices of the Supreme Court Judge (only Justices of the Supreme Court are called Justices)
My Lord Your Honor
Mum mom, mommy, mama, ma
Dustman garbage collector / garbage man
Barrister attorney / lawyer
Copper cop / police / law enforcement
Postman mail carrier / mailman / mail person
Mate friend, buddy, girlfriend, boyfriend, bud, pal, gal pal
Holiday vacation
Brilliant great, cool, awesome, wonderful
Cheeky smartass, wiseguy / smarting off
Mad crazy / nuts / insane
Right OK
Kip Sleep, snooze, nap
Nick steal, lift, swipe
Arse/bum ass, butt, behind
Ta thanks
Taking the biscuit takes the cake
Uni/University College, Grad School
Wanker jerk, asshole, son of a bitch
Yonks ages, long time, month of Sundays
Rubbish Bullshit, BS
Pear-shaped disaster, a wreck, trainwreck, fubar (fucked up beyond all recognition)
Pissed drunk, hammered, wasted
Wag off To waste time, dick around, fuck off, screw off
Bollocks Bullshit, BS
Brassed off pissed off, angry, mad
Cock up screw up, mess up, make a mistake
Dodgy suspicious, questionable, not to be trusted
Knackered tired, beat, worn out, done in, exhausted
Posh high class, pricey, expensive, classy
Fortnight two weeks, couple of weeks
Skint broke, tapped, penniless, flat broke
Timetable schedule
Rubber eraser
Post mail
Queue line
Torch flashlight
Mobile cell
Football soccer
Zed zee
Full stop period
Postal code zip code
Fag smoke / ciggie / cigarette
Protectives condoms / rubbers
Rubbish trash, garbage

Feel free to add to the list…