Write for You: No Such Thing

by Nancy Casey

If you made a list of everything that exists, it would be pretty long. Would a list of all the things that might exist be even longer? The list of things that can’t possibly exist is probably the longest of all. Those are the things you will write about today.

The phrase that you will use to push yourself along is, “There is no such thing as…”

First, set up your page by drawing a line across the top where the title will go. Mark off some space for an illustration or doodle that you can add later. That space can be any shape that you want.

Then get started. Write the words, “There is no such thing as…” While you are writing them, an idea for finishing the sentence will probably occur to you.

What can’t possibly exist? Gazillions of things. If you have a hard time thinking them up, jiggle your mind a little bit to loosen its hold on the way things ought to be.

Look at something in front of you. Ask yourself what it isn’t. (There is no such thing as a couch that does the dishes.)

Think about the story of your life, past, present, and future. What is definitely not going to be happening to you? (There is no such thing as a person turning into a muffin.)

Think about the laws of the universe and all the things that don’t happen because of them. (There is no such thing as a human swimming to Mars wearing only a hat.)

After you have thought up an impossible thing, write another sentence that adds to it or comments on it a little bit. For instance, if a person wrote, “There is no such thing as money growing on trees.” For the added part, they could put, “Because if there were, I’d be out there harvesting right now.” Or they could add, “But it sure could be fun if I was wrong.” Or, “Even if you use lots of pennies for fertilizer.”

Continue filling up the page, first naming something that doesn’t exist, and then expounding on it a little bit.

When you have finished, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add an illustration or other decoration and color to the page. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting 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 latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

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