It’s Too Soon To Tell

One of  the things I have been doing with my time off is taking writing classes and seminars.  Some have been skills based–workshops in doing revisions for example, but others have been more focused on being creative and generating new material.  Often the exercises in these classes involve writing to prompts.  For example, the class may be given a word or phrase, a physical object or photo or even a piece of music and then a very limited amount of time–say 10 or 15 minutes to write. It’s interesting to me that my production in these situations has been equal parts memoir, essay and fiction.  I have completed a couple of pieces I started to prompts, but mostly for me it’s a limbering up exercise and an opportunity for collegiality I find I need now that I’m not working.

Here is a piece that I wrote in response to the prompt, “Finish the phrase, ‘It’s too soon to tell.

It’s Too Soon To Tell

It’s too soon to tell
Will he have his mother’s fine skin,
His father’s auburn hair,
His Uncle Charlie’s protuberant ears?

It’s too soon to tell

Will he have his grandmother’s gift for music

His grandfather’s way with words,

Cousin Violet’s wonderful laugh?


Will he run races like his Uncle Pearce?

Build great cities like his Cousin Neville?

Or write software like Rita’s daughter Lil?


It’s too soon to tell

Will he have Aunt Clea’s love of the bottle,

Uncle Henry’s black depressions,

Cousin Mortimer’s passion for unsuitable women

Or Cousin Jasper’s for unsuitable men?


Will he know great love?

Will he go to war?

Will he know want, or will his pockets always be full?


This much we do know

He smells like heaven

His smile lights up the sky

His cry breaks your heart

And he holds each of us in the palm of his hand


Because we can’t wait to discover

The oh, so many things

It’s just too soon to tell