You Didn’t?

by Nancy Casey

Of all the things, possible and impossible, that a person could do in the world, which ones haven’t you done? A rather long list, no doubt. Think about the zillions of things you haven’t done while you settle in to write and set up your page.

No doubt there are all sorts of things you meant to do, but didn’t. (Yet?) Also things you woulda-coulda-shoulda done—and didn’t.

Consider some of the things you are really glad you didn’t do. (Whew!) Or things that you didn’t do because you don’t care about them enough to bother.

Most people don’t break the laws of biology or physics when they get up in the morning—or at any other time. Imagine all the things you haven’t done because you can’t time travel or be in two places at once. What haven’t you done because you can’t fly or breathe under water? You could write about any number of those.

As you let ideas about what you didn’t do float into your mind, get out your writing stuff. Arrange the things in front of you in a way you find pleasing. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up. Pick up your pen and start.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. Start drawing or doodling if it helps your mind settle down and focus.

When an idea about something you didn’t do comes to your mind, start writing it down immediately. Don’t get all fussy about whether the idea is good enough. It is.

Explain a lot or a little about what you didn’t do. It’s possible to fill up a whole page explaining what you didn’t do, why you didn’t, whether you could have, who can do it, how and where it is normally done, who else would be interested… There is so much you could say.

You might decide that you don’t want to say anything extra about what you didn’t do. Then your page would look more like a list. If some items on the list merit explanation, include some more information. Just let the ideas flow and try to keep pace with them as you write.

When you get to the bottom of the page, look back over your work. Pause to add illustration or decoration if you like.

Did your writing fall into any kind of a pattern? Is there some kind of story it tells? If so, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If not, make up some kind of a title anyway and write it at the top of the page.

Put your initials or a signature on the page, too. 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. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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