⌗IWSG-March, 4th 2020, Family Traditions

Free access to this blog, not ad-supported. Block ads or refuse cookies .

Welcome to another monthly post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

If you would like to know more about this very encouraging and supportive writing group

sign-up here

Anyone can join, budding writer, published or unpublished, writer of poetry, short stories, novels, essays … So give it a go and visit the other members, read their contributions and don’t hesitate to leave a comment

March 4 question – Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories? 
The awesome co-hosts for the March 4 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray,Lisa Buie-Collard,Sarah Foster,Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence!

Welcome to another monthly post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Just recovering from the WEP Challenge of February, Café Terrace. 27 beautiful stories and poems, triggered by the Van Gogh painting Starlit night or Cafe terrace,  to read and comment on. Everyone outdid themselves last month so congratulations to to all my fellow WEP bloggers. If you would like to know more about this joint IWSG-Write, Edit, Publish Challenge

read here

Here is my contribution for this month’s IWSG question.

In a nutshell, when I first started participating in organised writing workshops during my first creative writing course at the Open University back in 2007, I learnt the ‘ rule ‘ : write what you know. Though we naturally tend to write about what we have experienced and felt at times, it’s always comforting to be handed a reminder of what is basic to successful authentic writing, don’t overcomplicate your task.

By all means, I do not think this means that you cannot create outside the box or imagine a whole new world or reality with experience ‘ borrowed ‘ , not lived through first hand. On the contrary, our literature would be very poor indeed if we did not glean matter from our reading, our dreams and our imagination. However, I also think that it is essential to rely on a minimum of verified facts to anchor your writing into ‘ believable ‘ reality that the reader can relate to.

So family traditions and customs play a big part in who you are as a person and as a writer. No exception , they often appear in my writing. They are written , of course, with a personal touch which reflects my own point of view and not necessarily the same as another member of my past and present family. Hopefully my readers can relate to my stories or poems by finding echoes in their own  memories of family gatherings and customs.

Here is an example of a family tradition transmitted from my grand-mother to my mother, to me and on to my children in their turn, shared I am sure by many other people.

Picking Blackberries and making Blackberry and Apple Pie.

My poem Autumn Aroma will appear in my Poetry Collection From the Shadows which is currently in the works with the help of Cinnamon Press Pencil Mentoring programme. So I’ll offer a few extracts, as it is as yet unpublished.

Autumn Aroma

Pick blackberries from brambles 

along a meadow in late August.

Brush away giddy wasps that whip around.

Clothe yourself with long sleeves, jeans and socks, 

to reach those juicy nut size ones at the top. 

Long legs and long arms cannot be found in a shop.


Bend down to scoop up the apples to balance

the taste. They are easier to free from nature; 


Simmer the two combined, with nutmeg 

and cinnamon. A whiff signals 

Sunday dessert as it coils up the stairs.


Cut up the soft butter into dice:


Sieve the flour like snow falling onto yellow clay.

Grip the sticky cubes with cool fingers.


Lift lightly through spread fingers, an offering

to the god of sweets.


Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment, agree or disagree, discuss and I will be sure to reply.

Stormy weather here in Toulouse, March rain falling on February flowers. A hail storm on Monday while planting baby trees for the birth of a micro-forest in-between expressways … Fortunately I had my full welly outfit, boots, cape, waterproof slacks, gloves and hood.

Elie du Bois August 2019

13 thoughts on “⌗IWSG-March, 4th 2020, Family Traditions

  1. I’d thought I didn’t include family traditions in my writing, but you’ve just shown me that isn’t true! I hadn’t considered something like picking blackberries as a family tradition, perhaps because lots of people unrelated to me do it. But of course not everyone does, and almost all those who do will have started off doing it with an older family member, so of course it’s a family tradition to many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Patsy for visiting and commenting. That’s what I love with these monthly question, it makes us think about how and what we write, the triggers and process. What seems sometimes obvious isn’t and vice-versa. have an inspiring writing month.


    1. Yes, Sonia. Originality is sometimes overrated. Even a very familiar occurrence can be written about in a very personal and new way. Emotions and triggers are multitudinous.


    1. Thank you Vette. Yes Autumn Aroma is my preferred title . My tutor and now my mentor wanted me to stick to Blackberries and only concentrate on the picking when the poem is all about the PIE …


  2. Susan, yes the WEP challenge was great, wasn’t it? One of the best yet but then the Van Gogh aspect made it rich.

    I think traditions and stories add a layer to our writing making it so much richer and realistic.

    Love your poem and recipe.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Denise, glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading your response. In the Basque Country, à well earned holiday. In the middle of campaigning for the town hall elections in France.


Leave a Reply to susanrouchard Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.