Write Your Origin Story
This invitation to write is the first of three created for the Morehead Writing Project’s Small Poems, Great Writers project. I thought National Poetry Month was the perfect time to share these invitations to write your own poetry. All three invitations were inspired by the #WalkMyWorld Project and a What If project I created for my students in Fall 2021. The Small Poems, Great Writers project includes writers in the Morehead Writing Project community from kindergarten through retirement so there should be something in every invitation to spark your muse.
The origin story invitation focuses on the people, places, and events that make us who we are by exploring the food and communities who shape our origin story. We open with this quote:
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.”Joy Harjo, Perhaps the World Ends Here
Then shared three poems to inspire us to think about the foods that are important to our family celebrations and history as well as the hands that grow that food and prepared that food.
- Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni
- In Praise of Okra by January Gill O’Neil
- Four Sonnets About Food by Adrienne Su
We then drew on the art of Ralph Goings to think and write about what is always on our family’s table from condiments to favorite foods and to consider where in our community our family and friends choose to eat.
Two of my favorite children’s books to inspire writing came next:
And we concluded with a list of questions to further inspire exploration of our origin stories:
- What does your home smell like?
- What do people do for work?
- What are the public places where people gather?
- What are the important streets and intersections?
- What are the difficult social issues your home faces?
- What are the sounds you might hear at 10 p.m. on Saturday night?
- Who are important historical figures and/or events from your home?
- What slang do people use in your home?
- What do people fear in your home?
- What do they hope for?
What is your origin story?