I have often given my creative writing students the journal assignment to write about a place they remember from when they were 8-13 years old. This seems to work well, since we all have someplace we used to go that holds a lot of memories. The combination of memory and description can be evocative, charging the language and the imagery with emotion.
This time, since we were out with a snow/ice day and because I felt like trying something a little different, I changed the assignment a little. I still asked students to write about a place, but I made it any place they have an emotional attachment to: where you had your first date or your first anything, really, or a place that you visited frequently. I suppose it could be a place that your parents went to and then took you to. I asked them to write without naming the emotion, but trying to evoke the emotion through the language and images they choose. I want to have them do some work together in groups to begin turning these paragraphs into poems about the place, though I won’t mind if the poems then get revised back into a story at some later date.