A Turning Point, Alphabetically

by Nancy Casey

A turning point is one of those places in our lives where we can say that the future is definitely different from the past. Sometimes we notice them as we pass through them. Sometimes we notice them in retrospect.

Today, you will describe a turning point in your life by going on a scavenger hunt for details on either side of it. You’ll be looking for a detail to match each letter of the alphabet.

Set up your page with your usual line for the title at the top. Then draw two lines down the middle of the page to make a stripe about a half-inch or so wide. Write the letters of the alphabet down the middle in the stripe. You can write the letters from A-Z. Or from Z-A. Or in totally random order. As long as all the letters are there.

Rumble around in your memory to decide on a turning point. Unless you want to, you won’t need to actually write down what the turning point was, just be sure it is clear in your mind.

Some turning points are obvious. Moving to a new place, a different job, a new friend. There’s always the pandemic. Some turning points are traumatic: an illness, injuries, and loss.

Life isn’t zig-zag, it’s a winding road. So many turning points are subtle. There’s a “before” and an “after” marked by objects in your life, for instance. By changes in appearance, too. By the seasons and the phases of the moon. From morning until night.

Turning points happen in your mind and imagination, too. When you learn a fact or a skill. When something “dawns” on you. When you set or abandon a goal. When you start telling a story in a different way.

Whatever turning point you choose, fix it clear in your mind. The left side of the page will be for writing sentences or phrases about Before.  On the right-hand side of the page you will write sentences or phrases about After. One for each letter of the alphabet.

Pick out words that begin with each letter. Write a sentence or phrase on each side of the letter that contains that word. On the left, write something that was true before the turning point. On the right, write something true about after the turning point.

You can do the letters in any order. While you are thinking up what to write, you can doodle and fancy up the borders of the page.

After you have filled the page, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it too, along with a signature or your initials.

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. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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