Write for You: An Alphabet of Opposites

by Nancy Casey

Today you will write individual words instead of paragraphs or sentences. You will end up plucking words from interesting corners of your imagination, which is often amusing.

Begin by setting up your page:

  • Draw a line across the top where the title will go.
  • Draw a line across the bottom of the page that marks off just enough space for exactly one line of writing.
  • Draw 2 vertical lines down the remaining empty space on the page so that it is divided into 3 columns.
  • At the top of the right-hand column, write the heading “Different.” For the middle column, use the heading “Same.” The left-hand column won’t need a heading.
  • For the left-hand column write the letters of the alphabet (A-Z) down the left-hand edge of the page.

Then begin writing. For each letter of the alphabet in the left-hand column, write down a word that begins with that letter. Any word. You don’t have to think them up in alphabetical order. It’s okay to skip around.

It doesn’t really matter where the words come from. You can…

  • …write a word that is related to something you have been thinking about.
  • …look around you and write down the name of what you see.
  • …close your eyes and wait for a word to pop into your mind.
  • …go to a place where a lot of people are talking and write down words that you hear.

In the Same column, next to each word you’ve written in the alphabet column, write another word that is more or less the same as the first word.

In the Different column, write down a word that is somehow different from the other two.

You might decide to write down all the words in the alphabet column first, and then fill the other two columns. Or you can write down the words for the Same and Different columns right after you add a word to the alphabet column.

It turns out that there are also lots of different possibilities for going in order or skipping around. Mix it up however you like.

What counts as “same” and what counts as “different” are also entirely up to you. There is lots of wiggle room.

After you have filled up all three columns, in the skinny one-line space at the bottom of the page, write some kind of comment. It might be an observation about the process of filling the columns. Or a thought that passed through your mind as you were writing down words. The comment can be anything that pops into your head and fits into the tiny space allowed.

Finally, give your work a title and write the date on it, too. If you add some kind of illustration, you will be glad you did when you look back at the page later.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

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