Writing Exercise 1

Prompt: Describe a place you lived in two paragraphs, brainstorm before writing.

Selected Location: A ranch 6 miles outside of a small Texas Town along I-45, South of Dallas

  • 3 landmarks known to the community-

The water tower that marks the exit off I-45

The big curve of the road before the abandoned farmhouse that cuts through the corn

The yellow corrugated steel church just before the turn for our house

The split of the road towards India, TX that grandma once took by accident for 20 miles before she realized

The karaoke bar that is a gas station without gas and sells sushi only on weekends

  • 3 clichés/ quirks of language or people outsiders know about the area

Pecan Pie

Riding horses to school


Curly blonde haired women

Ten churches per square mile

  • Insider knowledge about the area

The girls who wear flowers in their hair are part of the gangs

The sushi bar gas station has a line out the door on weekends

The best place to go for cheap, beautiful cut flowers is the funeral home on main street, not the florist across from them

The little barber shop on the corner where the lady doesn’t speak any English and ignores any and all of your suggestions, still gives the best haircuts I have ever received to this day- for $5


               The water tower with the yellow jacket marks the exit for the Farm to Market Road leading away from town, 4 curves, one big one, just beyond the school, 180 degrees through corn and wheat, cotton and soybeans, then past the abandoned farm house, wooden, and once blue, up the hill past the red gas station, selling sushi on Sunday nights, but no gas, while the pastor sings karaoke music from the 80’s loudly, over the dip where irrigation flows in spring, past the church of yellow corrugated metal where “Y’all’all are always welcome you know”, and a too small parking lot, a black cat fireworks shed that is never open, with staring yellow eyes and a red tongue, and then the turn down the row of mailboxes and ranches, 10 acres, 50, the landing strip, where donkeys graze, the vet who never tells you he went to the same school twice, down the big hill under a green glowing bower of trees, goliath, and oak, and redbuds flush with hearts to the sharp turn and the three bar gate that’s never closed, where sits a stone farm house, two stories with the western edge sheltered beneath the spreading boughs of a  paper shell pecan tree, green shells splayed open like half popped corn.

The tree drops 75 pounds a season, but my father hates pecan pie. We sit inside, around a dark wood table, that is in both the kitchen and the living room at once, away from the 110 degree Indian summer cracking shells with mallets or fists. Snacking on chilled omelet slices made from garden fresh onion, zucchini, and tiger skinned tomatoes, with cubes of queso fresco, while we plan which Czech Christmas cookies we will make from ground pecans instead of almonds. The baking will have to wait till after the sun sets.

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