Write for You: Standing Up In Silence

by Nancy Casey

How do you spell the word for that sound you sometimes make when you get out of a chair?  Would it be unnh? Or does it need a “g” in it, something more like aagh?  Does it have an “r” sometimes?  Arnh? Urrh?

It doesn’t matter so much how you spell it, but it matters that you say it.  Or more accurately, since it’s not quite something you “say,” it matters that the noise comes out of you.  We often laugh at ourselves when we make these noises.  But what do they mean?

Only you know for sure, of course, but grunting when you stand up has something to do with the fact that it’s hard to get out of the chair.  If you make one of these noises at the end of your writing practice, it means that your writing practice ends with some kind of a struggle.  Can’t have that!

Today, before you begin your writing practice, experiment with finishing it.  Write the date on the page and then before writing anything else, stand up. Do it like this:

  • Set down your pen. Put your hands in your lap.  Look at the world.
  • Move your feet around to remind them that they will soon have to get to work.
  • Jiggle or slide your body forward in the chair and move your feet to a place where it feels like your feet and legs are solid under you.
  • Push one foot into the floor, and then the other. Gently. Back and forth.  Roll your hips a little bit to the left and right in the chair.
  • Look at the world. If you are inside, use your eyes to “draw” the lines where the ceiling meets the walls.  Trace them slowly, back and forth.  If you are outside, use your eyes to draw around the edges of all the objects that touch the sky.
  • Shift your feet around one last time. Get them under you in a way that makes you feel sturdy from your hips to the floor.  Notify all systems to get ready for lift-off.
  • Scoot the chair back a little bit if you need to.
  • Finally, using all of the big, strong muscles of your legs, lift yourself to a standing position. As you lift, inhale. Imagine that the air you take in floats you up.
  • Once you are on your feet, don’t go anywhere. Shift your weight from your right leg to the left and back a few of times.  Just in case your body has forgotten what walking is like.
  • Tap your left heel on the ground a couple of times. Gently.  Feel the vibration go up your leg and into your torso.  This helps your body remember how sturdy you are.  Tap your left heel.  Then tap them both.
  • Take an interest in the horizon again.
  • Walk gracefully away. Look all around you.  Try to feel yourself gliding.

Return to your writing spot, and write a sentence or two about what that was like.  How was it different from the way you usually stand up? After a couple of sentences, go through the stand-up procedure again.  Return to your writing and write a few sentences about what you have seen since the last time you stood up.  Stand up again and glide around the room.

When you sit down the third time, write about the day ahead.  What do you have to do?  Are different parts of the coming day more appealing than others?  What part of the day promises satisfaction?

When you have finished, give your page a title.  Use the stand-up procedure to glide effortlessly from your chair and into the hours ahead.


Nancy Casey is a writer and teacher who has lived in rural Latah County for many years.  You can see more of her work here.

Would you like to attend a writing class?  Nancy will begin teaching at the Recovery Center in April.  Stay tuned!



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