by Nancy Casey
In order to do today’s writing prompt, you will probably have to take a walk. You don’t have to take any of your writing materials with you. Leave them on the table, ready to go, so you can sit down and begin to write as soon as you get home.
The writer Brenda Ueland said that she always began her writing time with a walk. She walked without any particular destination and only walked places where she was sure she wouldn’t get caught up in conversation with anyone. She walked fast or slow, whatever the mood, and tried to observe her surroundings. She said that every time she accidentally walked a little farther than she had expected, the writing always turned out better.
In order to do today’s writing prompt, you will first have to remember the person you were four years ago and recall what was important in your life then. Think about that on your walk. That will be much more pleasant than trying to remember all these things while you sit at your desk.
While you are walking, try to recall the place you lived four years ago. Where did you buy your groceries? Did you live alone or with others? What kind of work did you do? Who were your friends and what did you do together? Did you have a favorite place to go? What did you like best about your life? Did you have a hobby?
Maybe you can remember the person you were four years ago by jumping backwards year by year? What was going on in your life a year ago today? How was your health? What kinds of things were on your mind? Where did you spend your days? How was your attitude? What about the year before that? And before that? Can you remember?
While you are walking and remembering details from the past, watch how your recollection of what it was like to be you four years ago refills itself. As you walk, you can also start thinking about the question you will have to answer when you get home:
What have you learned in the last four years?
Every time something changes we learn something. Sometimes we choose it, and sometimes we are just stuck with it, but changes always teach us something. So when you think about all the things that are different in your life from four years ago, ask yourself what you learned in the process of change.
Things that stay the same teach us, too. We keep things in our life that sustain us and teach us things we want to learn. Hobbies, habits, jobs, friends and relations, the weather, plants and pets and everyday objects. Everything and everyone around us teaches us something, whether they change or stay the same.
Ideas change us, too. Ideas come to us from the outside in the form of information. That information can change ideas we already have. Sometimes we rearrange information in our minds and create new ideas that way. What ideas to you have now that you didn’t have four years ago?
Every time you learn something, does that mean you have a new skill?
Let your mind wander randomly over these things as you take your walk. Four years ago… What was your life like? What were you doing? And now? What can you do that you couldn’t do then? What do you know that you didn’t know then? When you get back to your desk, write down as much as you can remember.
Here is an example of the kind of thing you might write.
When you have finished, doodle on the page a little bit until you think of a good title. Put the title at the top. Write the date somewhere on the page as well.
Nancy Casey teaches at the Recovery Center on Thursdays and coordinates Recovery Radio. 531 S. Main St. in Moscow. Check the calendar for classes and times. All are welcome. Call the Recovery Center 208-883-1045 or email email@example.com for more information.