People and Places

by Nancy Casey

Think of the many people that have passed through your life and the many places you have been. Oh so many!

Today you will write about 26 of them.

Set up your page by first drawing a line at the top where the title will go. Then write the letters of the alphabet (A-Z) down the left hand side of the page. For each letter of the alphabet, you will coax yourself to recall a person or a place from your life that begins with that letter.

You have lots of people to choose from: everybody you have ever known or heard about, strangers, people from the media, characters from shows and books.

Some of the places you have been have names that everybody knows. They be found on maps: names of cities, streets or mountain ranges. Other places are personal. They don’t have official names. You have favorite and not-so-favorite places in your living space and out in the world. Are there places you miss? Can you recall a place where you sat, stood, laughed or danced?

Here’s the twist: Don’t write down the name of the person or the place. Instead, write down a short detail that gives just enough information for you to know what it means. You don’t have to make it so somebody else would understand or even guess. It only has to make sense to you.

For example, a person who loves to stretch out on their blue couch could use “couch” for the letter “C”. But instead of writing “couch” they could write something like, “Inviting and blue.”

Another example: Suppose you have a friend named Bob. You could use “Bob” for the letter “B”. You wouldn’t write “Bob” though. Instead, next to the “B”, you could write down something you and Bob did together. Or you could name one quality of Bob’s that you admire.

It can take a minute or two for your mind to settle into the two-step thinking it takes to do this. First you think of something for the letter, then you think up the detail and write that down next to the letter. Be patient with yourself. Doodling can help. You can skip around instead of doing the letters in order.

If you get really stuck on a letter or two, leave it temporarily blank. Something might occur to you after you start doing something else and you can fill it in later.

When you have written something for each of the letters and illustrated the page to your satisfaction, give your work a title and write the date on it.

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 occasionally teaches a Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center. For more information about classes, writing certificates, or writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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