Small, Medium, Large

by Nancy Casey

Gather your writing stuff. Gather your thoughts. Park yourself in the present.

Notice what your senses are taking in. Notice internal things, too, like body sensations and emotions. Memories and ideas in your mind right now are also part of the present.

Randomly explore the present while you set up your page.

Draw a line across the top of your page where the title will go. Then divide the page into four equal-sized sections. Label three of those sections Small, Medium, and Large.

Keep dwelling on the present and ask yourself, What’s small? What’s medium? What’s large?  Make a list inside each section.

There are several ways to approach this. You could begin by noting something small, and then asking yourself, What’s bigger than that? Or start with something large, and ask yourself what’s smaller. Or start in the middle, choose something, and ask, What’s bigger? What’s smaller?

Another way to approach this exercise is to fill one section at a time. Write down all the small things you notice, then the medium-sized ones, and finally the large ones. Or start with the large ones. Or the medium ones.

Maybe you will start with one approach and then switch to another. You might even invent an approach of your own. The important thing is to fill each of the sections according to their labels: Small, Medium, and Large.

When you don’t know what to write, look for ideas in the present tense.

There will be one section left. From all the items on the three lists you have written, pick one thing that is important. It doesn’t have to be the most important thing. There are probably quite a few things on your lists that matter to you. Pick one of them and write a little bit about it in the fourth section.

Draw or doodle on the page if you feel like it. A bit of color adds a lot!

When you have filled the page, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to.

Wait for a title to pop into your mind. When it does, write it on the line at the top of the page. Write the date somewhere on the page, too.

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 at this time to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center. If you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancyor the Latah Recovery Center.

 

In One Place

by Nancy Casey

Today’s page will require a little bit of setup. As you gather your materials and sit down to write, take some slow breaths and imagine your mind settling into an empty space. For the 20 minutes or so that it will take you to write, you don’t have to think about anything important. All that stuff will be ready and waiting for you when you are done.

Draw a line across the top of a clean page where the title will go. Underneath it, draw a vertical line down the center of the page. Then draw a horizontal line across the middle.  Now your writing space is divided into four equal spaces.

In tiny letters, write the word Plant in the corner of one of the spaces. Write the word Animal in the corner of a different space. Label the other two with the words Thing and Place.

Forget about Place until the end.

In the Animal space, write about an animal. Any animal, real or imaginary, past or present, monstrous or microscopic. Whatever animal pops into your mind first. Draw a picture to go with it if you like.

Similarly, write about a plant in the Plant space. Any plant.

Obviously, in the Thing space, you’ll write about a thing. Some inanimate object. Some thing.

Draw in those spaces and decorate the borders if you like. Doodle while you are thinking up what to write.

When those three spaces are full, turn your attention to the Place space. Imagine the animal, the plant, and the thing you have written about and build an imaginary fence that encloses them all. Describe that place.

Maybe your plant, animal and thing are all in the room right in front of you. Then that’s the place you would describe.

What if your plant was outside your window and your thing was the planet Mars? Then maybe your place would be the solar system. Or even the universe.

It’s also possible that you could decide that the place that holds your plant, animal, and thing isn’t a physical place someone could visit. It could be a place like your childhood or your imagination.

You might be tempted to do this backwards, to think of a place and then describe a plant, an animal and a thing that are in it. But, trust me, you will write something more interesting if you don’t think about place until the end.

When you have finished your page, go back over everything you have done. Make additions and changes if you like.

Give your work a title and write the date on it, too.

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

 

At Three

by Nancy Casey

What do you do? Even though that’s a question that many people ask, lots of folks find it too big to give an answer that feels satisfactory.

What do you do all day? That question is smaller, but it can still be hard to answer.

What do you do at 3 o’clock? That question is whittled down to an answerable size.

Take a moment to consider the ebbs and cycles of your waking day. Try to get a sense of the whole day all at once as something that unfolds from start to finish. Then zero in on that more-or-less 3 o’clock time. What’s going on then?

It depends.  On who you are, the schedule you tend to keep, the responsibilities you have, and your typical flows of energy and emotion. It also depends on whether the “3 o’clock” of your waking day is 3 AM or 3 PM.

It could also depend on how similar your days are. Work days differ from days off. Travel days are different from days at home.

Days might differ socially, too. Some days might or might not have children in them, or certain friends and co-workers. Maybe you have a standing appointment on a certain day at 3 o’clock.

If all of your days tend to be different, pick out a certain type of day, and picture yourself around 3 o’clock. If all of your days unfold more or less alike, zoom in on what is usually going on at three.

Think about your responsibilities and activities. Where could someone find you at 3 o’clock?

Consider the way your energy changes in the day. Where does it land around three? What about your attitude?

Is there something reliable about the natural world that occurs during the 3 o’clock hour?

Fill a page with information about yourself at 3 o’clock. Include color, drawing, doodling and decoration as you find appropriate.

When the page is full, take a good look at it, and make small changes if you like. Give your work a title and write the date on it, too.

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

 

How Do You Beat the Heat?

by Nancy Casey

It depends on what heats you up.

Some people don’t notice it’s getting warm until they’ve been seared by the sun for hours. Others prefer the temperatures you might find in a cave.

Weather conditions aren’t the only thing that can make a person hot. Some people have jobs near machinery that gives off heat. Other folks have physical conditions that send their temperatures up. Sometimes it’s a lack of ventilation that makes it hard to stay cool. Or large pets who want to be on your lap.

Warmth in your body isn’t the only way to feel heat. (After all, some people can’t ever get warm enough.)

Certain emotions and mental states can make us run hot: anger, anxiety, worry. Can hunger make you too hot? Thirst probably can. What about joy?

Today for your writing, think about what has a tendency to heat you up and write about what you do to prevent yourself from overheating. Maybe you will write about keeping your physical body comfortable. Maybe you will write about your favorite strategies for remaining mentally and emotionally cool.

Begin by drawing a line across the top of your page where the title will go. Draw and doodle a little bit on the page. As you do this, your writing ideas will start to gather themselves. Start writing about the first idea that comes clearly into your mind, even if it’s not the idea you thought you would be writing about at first.

Go back and forth between writing and drawing if you like. The important thing is to fill the page somehow with ideas about staying cool when things could get too hot.

Be sure to give your work a title and write the date on it, too.

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

 

Oh the Difficulties!

by Nancy Casey

Your mission today will be to write about a difficult relationship you have with a non-living thing.

Our lives are filled with more-or-less immovable objects that we wish weren’t there. See which ones pop into your mind as you gather your materials and set up your page. Draw a line at the top of the page where a title will go, and mark off some space on the page where you can doodle or draw.

We can have unpleasant relationships with physical things in our environment, such as a dangerous lump in the sidewalk, or a piece of uncomfortable furniture.

We are often challenged by mechanical objects. Maybe you have something like a washing machine, a bicycle, or a door lock that behaves unpredictably and causes emotional strain.

Technology frustrates a lot of people. Is there a type of technology that others seem to use freely and happily while you get stuck at every turn?

Maybe you just don’t get along very well with the weather. Or the smell of frying onions. Bright lights, certain color combinations, a type of music…

When you are challenged by something that can’t talk or think or hear, you are the one doing all the work in the relationship.

Think about a thing that you struggle to get along with and write about that relationship.

You can explain what the relationship is like, how it started, why it doesn’t end, and the work you do to get along. Or instead you could write yourself a pep talk for how you will approach your next interaction in this relationship. Maybe you’ll want to describe all the different ways this relationship has changed over time, or explain why you have this relationship even though it gives you so much trouble.

If you can’t think of what to write about, doodle or draw until an idea comes to you.

Once the page is full, go back over your work and make small changes if you would like. Continue to add color or illustration if you want to.

Be sure to give your work a title and write the date on it, too.

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 and offers free online writing coaching for people in recovery. For information contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

 

 

New Season Ahead!

by Nancy Casey

We have just finished a string of cold, wet, overcast days. The coming forecast promises blue skies and sunshine. It’s going to get hot. Gradually, we’re entering a new season.

Does it feel like the beginning of summer to you? What comes into your mind when you imagine the summer ahead?

As you set up your page, let your mind ramble on the idea of the summer season which stretches before you.

Summer isn’t just about weather. Summer clothes and summer shoes might pop into your mind. Or hair styles. Chores and activities. Fantasy plans. Foods and allergies. People. How one summer can be different from another. What you are and aren’t looking forward to.

Draw a line at the top where the title will go, and mark off some space that you can use for doodling and illustration. At the very bottom of the page, draw a rectangle that’s about an inch high and as wide as the page.

Write about the summer that is stretching ahead. You could write sentences that begin with, “I hope…” or “I’ll wear…” or “On Wednesdays…” Write whatever comes to your mind from thinking about the coming summer.

When your mind goes blank for writing, draw or doodle in the illustration space. Go back to writing whenever a thought you could write down pops into your mind. Go back and forth with writing and illustration until the page is full. But leave the rectangle at the bottom completely empty.

When you are satisfied with all of the drawing and writing on the page, direct your attention to the blank rectangle. That’s the space reserved for the unexpected. Because something unexpected always happens. All sorts of things that you can’t predict are going to present themselves to you this summer.

Decorate all around the edge of the rectangle somehow. As you do so, remind yourself that for better or for worse, along with everything you are pretty sure will happen, things you didn’t expect will also pop into your life over the summer.

When you have finished decorating all around the edges of the rectangle, you’ll probably be about as ready for the unexpected as you can get.

Be sure to give your work a title and write the date on it, too.

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 and offers free online writing coaching for people in recovery. For information contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.