How to Make a Fort

by Nancy Casey

When you write today, these are the first words you’ll put on the page: “Well, you could make a fort out of…”

The word well signals a bit of hesitancy. It says, Maybe this isn’t the most brilliant idea in the world, but at least I wrote something.

In other words, starting with “Well, …” gives you the freedom to say any old thing. It can turn out to be ridiculous, obvious, or brilliantly clever. You won’t be able to tell until after you’ve written it down and written more stuff after that. So just dive in and write any old thing at all.

What could you make a fort out of? What is a fort, anyway? Who makes them and why?

You don’t necessarily have to answer those questions, but once you write down what a fort could be made of, some kind of fort will start to take shape in your imagination. As you start to “see” the fort you are imagining, you could write more things about it if you like. Or you could change the subject and start to imagine a different fort.

Before you do any writing, set up your page. Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go so you are certain to have a place to put it when you have finished writing. Set aside some space for drawing or doodling if you like. Or just start drawing and wait for the urge to write to hit you.

You don’t have to think up any ideas ahead of time. Try to keep your whole mind floating through both realistic and ridiculous ways a fort could be made. When you have written, “Well, you could make a fort out of…” something will pop up. Even if it seems completely goofy, write it down and take it from there.

When the page is full, look it over carefully and make small changes if you like. When a title idea floats to the surface of your mind, 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.


If you would like to make a page like this in the company of other people, join us at the Latah Recovery Center from 4-5 PM on Tuesdays. After we’ve made a page together, we do other exercises, and (optionally) share our work. For a calm and supportive early-evening time, join us at 4:00, and then stick around for the art class that begins at 5:00.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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