Where There Are People

by Nancy Casey

To accomplish your writing today, you must take yourself on a field trip to a place where there are people. Anywhere, as long as there is at least one person.

Such a field trip could be a walk down a busy street, a meal in a restaurant, a trip to the library, or an evening with friends or family. It could be an event or situation from a workplace, a gym, or a church. Take yourself to a place where you will find one or more people.

If it’s not possible to take yourself physically to such a place, you can go in your imagination instead. One way to do that is to remember things. Another way to do that is to make things up.

Once you are immersed in your field trip, begin writing down the details of the place and situation. Here is the catch: Don’t write anything about the people.

Suppose you are meeting a friend for lunch and you decide to make that outing count as your field trip. As you eat and visit with your friend, collect details that you can write down later. Notice how the food smells, the color of the plates, the pictures on the restaurant wall and the cars parked outside. These are the things you will write about. You won’t be writing anything about your companion, the server, or your fellow diners. Even if somebody’s baby screams through the whole meal, a baby is a person, so you can’t write about that.

If you travel in your imagination, take some time for the trip. As you recall an event or situation with people in it, often the details of the people are what pop into your mind first. Close your eyes and let other memories of the moment filter in. What was in the sky and on the ground? What objects were behind or in front of the people? Are there sounds and smells that you remember? Was there anything soft or rough to the touch?

You can make up some or all of the details that you decide to put in your description. You can try to make your made-up details seems absolutely convincing. Or you can make them entirely fanciful.

When you have filled a page, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. Perhaps you will add decoration or illustration. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

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