by Nancy Casey
Write down a fact. A one-sentence fact. Any old fact.
You can describe something that’s in front of you or tell something about a memory. You could choose a fact that comes into your mind from the media, or from friends. Just some random fact.
The fact should take up about one line on the page.
Start a new line. Write new a sentence related to the fact. Write something that turns the fact into a bummer. Do this by adding new information that twists the fact around. Make the new sentence sound depressing somehow, or gloomy. It doesn’t even have to be true.
- For example, a person could begin by writing: There is strawberry ice cream in the freezer.
- Then they could follow up: At my cousin’s fifth birthday party, I threw up strawberry ice cream all over the cake.
After that sentence, start a new line. This time write a sentence that takes an idea from the gloomy sentence and turns the “conversation” cheerful or positive.
- For example, a person could follow the bummer recollection of throwing up at a cousin’s birthday party with something like: When I was growing up, my cousin was my best friend.
Then use that positive-sounding sentence as a springboard to say something gloomy or depressing. Maybe something like: In grade school, my best friend moved away and I never saw her again.
Continue down the page, that way, writing sentences that take turns changing the subject and swinging from positive to negative, back and forth like a rocking horse.
Just go sentence by sentence. Don’t pressure yourself to tell a coherent story. You can write things that are true, or completely made up, or somewhere in between. The important thing is to make the attitude swing from gloomy to cheerful, and back, and forth.
When you are three-quarters of the way down the page, stop. Draw a squiggly line under what you have written. Go back and read it over. Make small changes if you like.
Finally, in the little bit of space left on the page, comment on what you wrote. How did you have to make your mind work to change the attitude with every single sentence? Was it easy, hard, or a little of both? Were parts of the writing funny or annoying? Does the page you wrote seem like two people talking, or is it more like one person having a discussion with their own thoughts?
Write comments for the rest of the page, and when your work is finished, give it a title. Make sure the date is on the page somewhere, too. Add decoration and color as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.
Share what you have written! Post it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email email@example.com for more information.