The Long and the Short of It

by Nancy Casey

Anything that is short can also be long. And vice-versa. It depends on our perspective, and we can change our perspective at will.

Today in your writing, ask yourself, “What, in my experience, is both long and short?”

You can think about distances. Destinations, for example, get closer and farther away depending on whether we are walking or riding in a car. “A short ways ahead” means something different to a parent and an impatient child. The same hairstyle or hemline can be considered long or short in different circumstances.. Tools and other objects can seem long or short depending on the person using them or the place they are being used.

Anything involving time can be perceived as long or short. Sometimes yesterday feels like an eternity ago, and a childhood event can seem like it happened “just yesterday.” Whether an activity takes a long or a short time might have a lot to do with whether the person is enjoying it or not.

Stories can be long or short. “Today I saw my friend.” That story is short. “Today I saw my friend who…” That’s the same story, but it could turn out to be very long. Sometimes a person will offer to “make a long story short”—and then tell you a long story anyway. Have you ever done that? Why is it hard sometimes to make a long story short? Have you ever tried to make a short story longer?

Look at the world around you.  Explore your memory and imagination. When you notice something that you would call “long,” ask yourself when you might consider it short. When you notice that something is short, ask yourself how a change of context or perspective would make it long.

Write about something—or many things—which, in your experience, have been both long and short.

When the page is full, go back over your work. Make small changes if you need to. Add some color or decoration to the page if you haven’t already. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. You can even ask yourself whether writing the page itself took a long or a short time.

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. 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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