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
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.