Adult 612, Reflection one

I wrote this last week but didn’t post it because we didn’t share our writings with our groups! But I wanted to include my reactions to this project.

I haven’t gone through the blogs yet to add my non-blogging buddies to my feed, but I hope to find that some of you are posting about the “Where I’m From” exercise.

I am not a poet, or even someone who has written a poem in the last ten years, so I decided to challenge myself to write a poem. “I have a degree in English–I even love to read poetry!” I thought. The words came to me quickly, but editing them and formatting them took some time. Sometimes it’s easier to write a 5-page personal essay than to edit those words down to a single page and still retain the same meaning and impact.

Sharing something like this with others might be scary, but I think to build trust and relationships in groups you need to expose yourself a little to them. Make them know you’re human.This is an essential part of the paradox of group life: disclosure.


My group responded well to my poem and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be when sharing it with a group–perhaps posting it on Bb first eased my nerves. I enjoyed finding our commonalities and writing together. River, nature and food were three things we have in common and I think part of that is because when we are nostalgic for our childhood those are common themes. I don’t get to smell my parents’ house on Sunday when my mom made gravy (I make it myself now!), nor to I get to go on outdoor adventures (I have no time).

Going over our poems also “loosened” us up to talk about the Team Charter more openly. I think having some personal time before moving to a project helps build team relationships. When I Google Hangout with my group in 642, there’s much talk of cats and beer and Beyonce before we get into talking about the project.

Where I’m from

I am from the kitchens of old Italian women
making gravy while drinking cheap pink wine from juice glasses.

I am also from canned fish, polska kielbasa, pasta fagioli,
strong black coffee, egg noodles,
German chocolate cake, shrimp scampi,
and roasted garlic smeared onto fresh bread.

I am from community gardens
public parks
secret swimming spots
flower beds full of irises
creeks down steep hills and past tennis courts.

I am from stacks of musty LPs we played on Sundays
clocks and spoons and empty rooms, it’s raining out tonight.

I am from scholars and failures
from Ave Maria and non-believers
from history books and soap operas.

I am from the rickety stairs
in a Chicago alleyway leading to the apartment
where my mother grew up.

I am from Richmond, where the James River
winds midnight blue through the city
and the landscape of all my best adventures.


3 thoughts on “Adult 612, Reflection one

  1. Lovely images. You’ve prompted me to finish my digital story, Where are you from? that I began a year ago but didn’t finish because the software wasn’t working… Remind me.

  2. Thank you for being so open and honest in your post. It is a little scary to “expose” ourselves through sharing with a collective group of people that we don’t really “know”. We may be familiar with each other from previous classes, but this type of individual exercise pushed my comfort zones also. Your “voice” is so honest and sincere that I cannot help but feel more open to meet you in a the same manner. Even though we aren’t “blog buddies” I look forward to reading more of your posts and hopefully, we will come to know each other a little better as well.

  3. Hi Melissa – I enjoyed your poem as much as I enjoy your warmth and humor in class. This learning journey is much easier when we get to share our thoughts with others who are, most likely, experiencing some of the same feelings. Disclosing and belonging to a group not of our choosing (e.g., work, school) is difficult for me. I was afraid to share my version of the poem, too. Now that I’ve shared, I agree with you that it’s not so bad. Wow, people may really like me for who I am! I’m the kind of person who would rather jump out of an airplane than share a personal story with strangers. Risk, to me, is personal. Anyway, let’s see how Gs & Ts helps me with that issue. Is it ever to late to change?

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