Write for You: Does and Doesn’t

by Nancy Casey

For today, you will need a topic to write about, someone or something.  Perhaps that topic has already popped into your head.  If it hasn’t how will you come up with one?

You can always close your eyes, open a book, a magazine, or your folder full of writing and then stick your finger in at random.  Open your eyes and find the “someone” or “something” that is closest to your finger.  There’s your topic.

You might prefer to re-imagine yesterday and choose something or someone you encountered during the day.  Or you could choose someone or something that you expect to come into your life today.  You could choose a someone or something that is so big and important to you it’s overwhelming.  Or to challenge yourself a little, you can choose someone or something that’s so insignificant you think you will have nothing to say.

  • Then write down one thing that person or object does.
  • Then write down one thing that person or object never does.
  • Then write down another thing the person or object does.
  • And another thing they never do.
  • Keep going. You get the idea.

For instance, you could write about the couch:

  • My couch sits against the wall beside the window.
  • It never moves of its own accord.
  • When I am stretched out on the couch it hears everything I say and think.
  • It never interrupts.
  • The couch collects dust all day long whether I am there or not.
  • It never complains when I vacuum all of its dust away…

You could write about your best friend.  Or the most annoying person you know.  Your pet.  Your hammer.  A certain tree.  Anything or anybody will work because there’s nothing and nobody who always does everything, and nothing and nobody who never does anything.

If you get tired of one topic, switch to a new one.  You might end up writing one long thing or a series of short ones. You can find some more examples here.  Don’t forget to give your page a title and write the date on it.

You can share this writing with a friend by leaving out the name of what or who you are writing about and turning it into a guessing game.  For instance, writing about the couch, I could say:

I am thinking of something that sits against the wall by the window and never moves.  It hears everything I say and never interrupts.  It loves to collects dust, but doesn’t complain if I take it away…

At a later time, go back and visit what you have written.  Make up a story in which the person or thing you first wrote about does all the things that you say they never do.  It might come out something like this:

While I was eating breakfast this morning, the couch walked across the room and settled down in front of the bookcase.  I started to tell myself that this was not possible, but before I even got the thought out, the couch said, “Things are different now.  Trust me, you will like it…”

Which is harder to think up, what somebody/something always does, or what they never do?  How often does it turn out that as soon as you say “never” about something, it happens.

Nancy Casey coordinates Recovery Radio, a program put together by volunteers from the Latah Recovery Center.  Listen at 1:10 pm on Thursdays on KRFP 90.3 FM on the Palouse.  She teaches at the Recovery Center on Thursdays.  Check the calendar for classes and times.  All are welcome.  Call the Recovery Center  208-883-1045 or email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

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