Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Writing Exercise of the Day: Go Home

Go Home
By Ann Bogle

After a long journey—to college or overseas with your Japanese class or across the country to take a job—visit your ancestral past. Go to your old street. Stand in front of the house you lived in when you were in kindergarten. Remember the note your mother pinned to your jacket on the first day. Remember the steps in the bus. What was the largest tree in your yard or on your street or at your apartment complex? Is the tree still there? Do your parents still live there? Is your once-home a highway or parkland now? Write a paragraph about it:

“In 1959, when my parents and brother moved to Thomas Avenue few homes on the street had been built. The street was surrounded by woods and wetlands. Houses cost $20,000. The same houses today cost $250,000. Our house is still standing at 4001. The present owners have painted it beige with a turquoise garage door and have added to the building. They have let my mother’s pristine yards and gardens grow over naturally. The best climbing tree, a willow, has died, and only its stump remains. The tallest tree in the yard, a poplar, has fallen. The largest tree in the front yard, an oak, is even larger now. My parents had painted our house pink as if the house were in New Orleans instead of in Minnesota; later it was yellow, the color of farm houses in Wisconsin, where they had met and married and lived before returning to my father’s native state.”

or poem in language that suggests it:

… the same door added a yard
naturally built yards surrounded parents
the garage poplar color beige when native
is my house to my moved brother
wetlands tree with standing
$20,000 farm even yellow
my houses in the tallest
where oak now and died pristine
were homes at best the gardens
have parents met to returning …

You may be just visiting, or you may have returned home for good. You may travel the rest of your life, thinking of home as the starting point of a journey that changes you in all your details, or you may view your starting point as a place to return to write about where you have been.

Ann Bogle has published short stories, prose, and poetry in many literary journals in print and online. For a listing of her publications and a sampling of her writing visit Ana Verse at:
Click here

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