What If?

What small moments or decisions led to something big in your life? What foods have played an important role in your life? What is your origin story and what twists and turns describe that journey?

This week my first year writing students and the Just Write Virtual Writing Group began the final writing challenge of our “What If” journey which is an exploration of our personal values as part of the Morehead Writing Project‘s Building A More Perfect Union grant, Root Deep, Grow Tall. This final unit draws inspiration from Marvel’s What If animated series (and the butterfly effect), the #WalkMyWorld Project, and the National Writing Project’s American Creed (and personal values). This low-stakes personal writing journey offers my first year writers the opportunity to write out and through what is weighing on their hearts and minds while also exploring a variety of modes of writing and learning new rhetorical skills. It is my favorite thing and offers rich terrain for writing.

We began by writing about the butterfly moments in our lives. Small moments or decisions that led to something much bigger that changed the course of our lives, the formation of our family, or led to key relationships.

We then explored the importance of the kitchen table beginning with Joy Harjo, Perhaps the World Ends Here, and Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni. We then focused on specific food memories with In Praise of Okra by January Gill O’Neil and the third of Four Sonnets About Food by Adrienne Su. And we wrote about our family tables, condiments, and favorite foods as well as the places where our friends and family always gather to eat together.

We shared our origin stores inspired by Miranda Lambert’s The House That Built Me and Montgomery Gentry’s My Town. We then considered where we’re from drawing inspiration from George Ella Lyon, Anthony Hamilton, and Digable Planet as well as the important influences in our lives with inspiration from 2Pac.

We wrote about important twists, turns, landmarks, and other driving/mapping metaphors using Shane Koyczan and Tom Musial for inspiration.

Our goal for this week was to write our origin stories and create some artifacts:

Artifact is art which is fact

Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay