by Nancy Casey
In this exercise you will make a page that is all about things that matter to you, but doesn’t have any writing on it.
As you organize yourself for you writing practice, think about what’s important to you. Certain people. Special places. Things you own or wish you owned. Unforgettable events. If you see it often or think about it a lot, it’s important.
You will need a clean sheet of paper for making the page, and also a scrap page that you can use for notes and practice drawings. Have some colors handy—pencils, crayons, paints, pens or markers. Color helps to make the page decorative and imparts information in its own way
Making the page
Begin with the scrap page. Write down 10 or 15 things or people that are important to you. Spread them out around the page. Just write a word or two, don’t write details or explain.
Next to each thing or person you have written down, draw some kind of picture or symbol that will remind you of it. The only thing that matters about what you draw is that letters and words are outlawed.
Perhaps there’s a person on your list who was wearing an interesting shirt the last time you saw them. You could draw a little shirt for that person’s symbol. If it’s someone who makes you laugh, you could draw a big smile.
Your symbols don’t even have to be pictures. You can use shapes and squiggles for your symbols. Or punctuation marks. Any kind of drawing will do, as long as you understand the connection.
Next, take up the blank page. Draw a little circle in the middle. That’s you.
Now re-draw each one of the symbols you invented, this time on the main page. Space them all out evenly around the circle in the middle. Put symbols for things and people that are physically close to you near the middle of the page. Put things and people that are farther away from you near the edge of the page.
Color the symbols.
Next, draw some connections. Are these things and people connected to each other? They are probably all connected to you somehow.
Make every connection you draw look different. If it’s a strong connection, make it thick. Make weak connections thin. Make goofy connections goofy. Connections can look like rope, or rocks, bubbles or dotted lines.
Color the connections. Add colors to the symbols as needed. Try to be decorative.
When you have finished, draw a big spiral over the whole page. Start in the middle where the little circle is, and draw a spiral that spreads out from there.
Then stand back and take a look at what you’ve done. You’ve filled a whole page with information about what’s important to you and the way these things are connected. And it doesn’t contain a single word.
The scrap paper? Throw it away.
You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. Take a picture of your page and post it to the comment box.
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She will has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again later this spring. You can find more of her work here. If you would like her help with any writing project you are working on—resumes, letters, stories novels—email firstname.lastname@example.org for some help.