The Shapes

by Nancy Casey

Get yourself situated in a place where there is something to look at. It can be indoors or outdoors. What shapes do you see in front of you?

Instead of taking note of the names of objects you see in front of you, take note of their shapes.

Rather than saying to yourself, “book…tree…pile of laundry,” you could say, “rectangle…triangle…blob.” Or something like that.

Look for rectangles and squares, circles and ovals, triangles and, of course, blobs. Study the blobs. Sometimes they are combination shapes, such as a square glued to an oval. Or a circle with a triangle cut out of it.

Try not to look at things. Look at shapes instead. Don’t say bicycle, ask yourself what shapes that thing is made of.

Set up your page. You can rotate the paper so the page is either wide or long. Draw a line at the top where the title will go.

Draw the shapes you have been looking at. Spread them out across the page more or less the same way they are spread out in front of you. Just the shapes. A circle here, a square there, and so forth.

Don’t try to make the drawing “look like” anything other than a bunch of shapes.

After you have drawn shapes for a while, write something somewhere on the page. You can write something about the drawing or the scene in front of you. You can write about what has drifted into your mind.

After writing a bit, go back to the shapes. Can you add details and more shapes? Some shapes have shadows that are also shapes. Sometimes you can see shapes inside of shapes. Different shapes might be different colors.

When you feel done with shapes, go back to writing. Alternate between writing words and working on the shapes until there is nowhere left to write or draw on the page.

Look over the whole page carefully. Make small changes if you want to. Wait for a title to pop into your mind, and then write it at the top of the page. Write the date on the page, too.

Here is an example of what someone’s page could look like.

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. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

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