Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where I'm from

Future writer in Sears polyester

I am from being the second daughter of a second daughter.

I am from a yellow brick house with a red front door; from a yard that grew cantaloupe and tap water that tasted like dirt at summer’s end.

I am from hand-me-downs and hand-sewn stuffed animals and kitchen haircuts and mortal embarrassment and wistful nostalgia.

I am from rock and roll while house-cleaning and silence while writing.

I am from the computer keyboard is my piano and though sometimes it sings, sometimes needs tuning, I commit to make daily music anyway.

I am from loving a great sweater.

I am from Kerouac and Hemingway and Carver and Faulkner and the college writing professor who caught me in the hallway after making an example out of my bad writing and said, “I’m not telling you to stop writing. I knew you could take it. Keep going.”

I am from ten years later bringing my first published novel and a grin that wouldn’t quit to that professor.

I am from making my house smell like autumn using the trick my mother taught me: pressing cloves into oranges until your fingers almost bleed.

I am from believing Prayer would make a beautiful name for a baby girl, but adoring the names my husband picked out.

I am from believing my dog is fur covered affirmation.

I am from a closet that belongs to a woman with a different life, where tailored business suits have given way to jeans and a faded Mickey Mouse t-shirt.

I am from pick up your socks, put away your backpack, stop annoying your sister, is it time for Chardonnay yet?

I am from contradictions and gentle critics and second chances.

I am from using my passport, but loving my own bed.

I am from the School of Mistakes is the best teacher and hanging that degree on my wall.

I am from by the grace of God, there go I.

I am from discipline and creativity and collecting every word inside a drugstore notebook.

I am from visiting Hotel Rejection and leaving the next day in a fast car with the sunroof open.

I am from having the windows open as much as possible and getting easily distracted by that squirrel on the fence.

I am from encouraging high drama and conflict on the page, but peace in real life.

I am from sitting in the elementary school car-line and watching hope in a backpack and pink socks sprint from the school door.

I am from searching twenty minutes for my favorite pen.

I am from being the mother of one girl who wants to believe in Santa Claus, but requests proof - and another who doodles on her notebook: Wonder + Believe = Magic and how does she know this already?

I am from faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.


p.s. – I am also from this announcement that just came out from Publishers Weekly  - Karen Harrington's SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, a coming-of-age story in which a precocious 12-year-old writes letters to Atticus Finch for help understanding her mentally ill mother, her first real crush, and life in her small Texas town, all in the course of one momentous summer, to Alvina Ling and Bethany Strout at Little, Brown Children's, for publication in Spring 2013, by Julia Kenny at Markson Thoma (World).

The inspiration for this post came from this poem: 


Susan Cushman said...

First of all, congrats on the book deal!!! Sounds terrific! And what a lyrical post. I definitely feel like I know you better, and can appreciate your writing even more. Lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Matt C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Harrington said...

Thank you, Susan!

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