Write for You: Setbacks and Calamities

by Nancy Casey

Things go wrong.  They always do.  Whether your plans are for this afternoon, the coming school year, or a lifetime, the chance of something going wrong is usually pretty high.

Big things and little things plop into our lives and, in a single moment, change our course. Just as the door closes, you remember your keys are inside. You get an email saying you didn’t get that job you were counting on. The phone rings with news that is so terrible, the world falls away. Ping! In a single moment, life takes a new direction.  The next minutes, days, or years will no longer be the way you expected.

The worst calamities don’t transpire in a single moment.  They come at you as a series of moments.  A barrage of them.  One bad thing after another, and you have to deal with them all.

No matter what hits you, though, you keep going.  Even when you think you don’t want to.  Even when it feels like you can’t.  Because time only moves in one direction, and it never stops.

Today, you will write about moments in your life when the shape of the future suddenly changed for the worse.  They can be moments that changed your life, or moments that changed your afternoon.  They can be moments that put a glitch in your day or moments that turned you into somebody else.

The important thing is to try to focus on particular details of the moment:  the color of something you saw, the shoes you had on, the words that you heard, the music in the background.

You can zig zag back and forth in time, writing down the details of bad moments you have had, mixing the ones from yesterday with others from your childhood.  Or instead you could choose to list each excruciating moment of a disastrous event.

Whatever you choose to write, after you have noted down the details of one of those awful moments, you must then add the sentence, “I kept going.”  Because you did.  Somehow or other, whether it was easy or hard.

When you have finished with the series of moments, and recorded the fact that after each one you kept going, read back over what you have written and think about it.  Write a final couple of sentences that describe your ability to keep going and what that experience feels like.

Be sure to give your work a title and include the date somewhere on the page.  Here is an example of what a person could write.


Nancy Casey teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursdays.  Check the calendar for classes and times, or just drop in.  All are welcome.  She coordinates Recovery Radio, which airs on KRFP 90.3 FM in Moscow, Thursdays at 1:05 PM. Recovery Radio needs on-air and off-air volunteers.  Call the Recovery Center  208-883-1045 or email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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