by Nancy Casey

Today in your writing, you will be challenged to notice objects in the world, but instead of describing the thing itself, you will describe its shadow.

Unless we are trying to see something in good light, or perhaps if we are seeking shade on a sunny day, we tend not to pay a whole lot of attention to shadows. Wherever there is light, however, shadows are cast. Look for the shadows around you.

If the light is bright, shadows are clear and well-defined. What color are they? Not exactly gray or black. What other colors faintly appear? (Neither gray nor black is a color in the rainbow. Gray and black are made by combining several colors. Brown, too.)

When the light is faint, shadows are still there.  Look at the edges or cracks where an object touches the floor or another object. Is there a shadow in there? What shape is it?

Notice places where two shadows combine. Shadows inside shadows. What can you say about those?

Take a look at something that seems pretty uniform in color. The floor perhaps, or a wall, maybe a piece of furniture. Snow. A cloud. A road. The more you look, the less the color seems uniform. Are some of the different shades caused by shadow? What do those shadows look like?

You can set up your own shadows with a lamp or flashlight. Arrange objects around it for the fun of seeing what kinds of shadows they cast. Fool around with them. Make a “shadow play.”

As you set up your page, shift your mind over to the idea of shadows. Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Set off a space for illustration, or draw a frame around the whole page that you can decorate later if you like.

When your page is ready, sit for a moment and take in the shadows around you. As you notice a shadow you never paid much attention to before, begin writing. Describe it however you like. If there’s still room on the page, look around for another one. Keep describing shadows until the page is full.

Go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. If you have made a drawing, you can add shadows to it and notice what effect that has.

Think up a title. Write it at the top of the page. Write the date on the page 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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