What’s Burning?

by Nancy Casey

Put a fire in your writing today. Literally. Write about anything that you want to, as long as it has at least one fire in it.

As you set up your page, think about fires that you have seen or heard about, fires that you have started, and fires you have put out. And every other kind of fire that might pop into your imagination.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. Draw or doodle while you wait for an idea to come into your mind. When an idea presents itself, start writing. Even if the idea seems lame.

The first fires you might think of are the kind with flames that burn stuff up in front of you. Or perhaps you mind will fall upon all the fiery bodies in the universe. If we burn calories, does that mean that there are little fires in each one of our cells?

What kind of fire is it when someone is all fired up about something?  What burns when a person fires off a tweet, a retort, or a gun? Are there flames when someone gets fired?

If you get burned, what do the ashes look like? What do burning questions devour?

Invite your imagination to roam freely in and around the notion of fire. Fill up a page with some of those thoughts. Then look back over your work. Squeeze in some additions or changes if needed.

Add some type of illustration or decoration to your page if you like.

Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one 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.

Got Wheels?

by Nancy Casey

You’ll be writing about wheels today.

Before you begin, spend a minute or two getting ready. Organize your writing space a little bit. Get out your stuff. Arrange the things in front of you in a way that looks pleasing to you.  Take a breath or two. Wiggle your feet, hips and shoulders. Empty your mind of everything except wheels.

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 in it if it helps your mind focus.

Wait for an idea with a wheel in it to come into your mind. When it does, start writing.

You could consider all the forms of transportation that use wheels—cars, buses, trucks, trains, bicycles. Unicycles, grocery carts, wheelbarrows. Do you have any experience with these?

How do you imagine the wheels that people speak of poetically? Wheels of time and the seasons, for instance, or the wheel of life.

Have you ever wheeled around? Done a wheelie? What kind of wheel would you find in a wheelhouse? What will you get if you wheel and deal?

Have you ever built a wheel? Broken one? Been run over by one?

Is a fan a wheel? A roundabout? A galaxy?

Let your imagination run away with ideas about wheels and fill up your page with them.

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

Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one 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.

Look Up!

by Nancy Casey

Tilt your head back the littlest bit and notice how that feels. Does your neck bend? Do your shoulders move? Do you feel it anywhere else, like your low back or your feet?

Move your head gently to the left and right. Notice how that feels. As you do this, look out “straight.” Except that “straight” is not where it usually is. With your head tilted back, “straight” is a little bit “up.”

Keep looking a little bit “up,” and move your gaze to the right and the left. Take note of everything you see when you are looking up from your usual line of vision.

That’s what you will write about today.

Before you start writing, practice looking up and to the left and right. Then set up your page. Draw a line at the top where your title will go. Set aside illustration or doodling space if you like. Then get your pen moving. If an idea for something to write doesn’t come to you immediately, doodle on the page until one does. Pause often and look up.

Maybe you will notice an object you haven’t paid attention to for a long time, and it has such a big story to go with it that you will take up the whole page when you tell it.

Maybe your page of writing will turn out to be more like a list of all the things that you see from this different angle of vision.

Your writing could also be a combination of these two. Or maybe you will start writing down memories of other times you have looked up and seen something that still sticks in your mind.

You could even write about the experience of looking up itself, what it felt like and any surprises that you had.

When the page is full, look back over your work. Pause to add illustration or decoration if you like. Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one example of the type of thing 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.

Understand

by Nancy Casey

We don’t have to live very many years before we start understanding a thing or two. Yet, no matter how long we live, or how wise and talented we might be, the ocean of what we don’t understand will always be vast compared to the tiny island of what we do understand.

Today you will write about understanding and not understanding all at once. At the center of the exercise is a sentence shaped like this:

I understand­­­ ________, but I don’t understand_______.

This type of fill-in-the-blank exercise gets your mind working in a pattern. When that happens, you often start to get ideas that wouldn’t pop up if your mind was working in its usual patterns.

Another thing that can happen with an exercise like this: Long after you finish your page, your mind might keep working in that pattern and continue to present you with ideas for filling out that sentence.

Because the exercise requires you to come up with only one sentence at a time, this is a fun exercise to do out loud, going back-and-forth with another person or going around a circle in a group.

Another thing that’s fun and interesting is to write a page that uses this pattern every day for a while. Your mind will quietly work on it when you aren’t thinking about it at all. You are likely to come up with ideas that surprise and please you each time you do it again.

For now, set up your page. Put a line across the top where your title will go. Reserve some space for illustration if you like. Then, without pausing to think, begin writing.

Fill out the sentence with the first words that pop up. Don’t worry if they seem lame. There’s nothing like writing down a lame idea to make your mind rumble around on its own for “better” one next time. (It’s actually rather difficult to write an entire page full of nothing but lame ideas.)

Maybe you will write clear sentences about a subject or problem you are trying to figure out. Maybe every sentence you write will revolve around the same topic.

Maybe your sentences will seem disconnected. There might not even be much connection between the understand and don’t understand parts of the sentences.

You can even turn the sentence inside-out, beginning with don’t understand, so it has the form:

I don’t understand ______, but I understand ______.

When your page is all filled up, look back over your work. Pause to add illustration or decoration if you like. Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one 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 individual help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid has fully receded, they will return.

In the Middle

by Nancy Casey

When somebody uses the phrase, “In the middle”, they could be talking about a lifespan, a seating arrangement, or a sandwich. Look around the world in front of you. Scour your memories and imagination. Ask yourself, “What’s in the middle?”  Write about that today.

Before you begin writing, take a few breaths and settle yourself into the task. Get your page set up by drawing a line across the top where you will write a title when you have finished. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. As you do this, think about “middles.”

Sometimes the middle is in space. Two objects exist somewhere, and between them is something else. The two objects could be fence posts, houseplants, or galaxies. They don’t have to be identical objects, either. A shoe that sits between a purse and a dog is in the middle. The thing you are looking for can be in the middle of a pile or the middle of the floor.

The middle can also exist in time. Lunch, for example is before dinner and after breakfast, so it’s in the middle. Any moment in time has a moment that comes before it and one that comes after, so it’s in the middle. You could pick a moment in time and ask yourself what that moment is in the middle of.

What tends to happen in the middle of the day? What about the middle of the night?

Situations can have middles, too. It’s not pleasant to be caught in the middle of somebody else’s conflict. We don’t like to be interrupted when we are in the middle of something. 

Write about a location, a time, or a situation that has a middle. What’s in the middle? Provide as much information as you would like: what it is, how it got there, whether or not it belongs there or will stay there. You can write about several different middles, or maybe you have so much to say about the first one that it will fill your page.

However your page fills up, look back over you work. Add illustration or decoration if you like. Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one example of the type of thing 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. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

Found It!

by Nancy Casey

Sometimes “finding” first involves “losing” and “looking for.” Other times “finding” is a complete surprise, and neither “losing” nor “looking for” are part of the story at all. Today, write about what you have found today, this week, or sometime in your life.

Take a moment to set up your page before you begin writing. Use the time to turn your mind to the task you are about to do. Watch your pen draw a slow, careful line at the top of the page where your title will go. Choose a spot on your page that you can use for drawing or illustration, and draw a careful line around that area as well. Thicken the lines, or draw over them a couple of times, watching the ink flow out of the end of your pen, and settle yourself into the time you’ll spend writing.

As soon as an idea about finding comes into your mind, write down some details about it. Don’t make yourself wait for a perfect idea, just start writing about the one that comes to you first. If you think of another idea while writing about the first one, finish the first one up and write about the new one, too. If your idea-bank feels empty, doodle on the page, keep watching the ink roll out of tip of your pen and murmur to yourself, I found… I found… I found… An idea will eventually come to you.

Maybe you will write about how a lost item turned up again and tell that story in a few sentences.

You might end up writing about an experience of looking for an item that you’ve never had. That kind of “finding” has the feel of discovery to it. You might have a story of hunting for wildflowers in the woods, or searching in several grocery stores for a food that a recipe needs and you’ve never heard of. Maybe you’ve been in a strange town looking for a place to eat or sleep, in the library looking for a book, or in a store looking for the right shoes for a job interview. When your search ends successfully, you are happy to find something that was never lost.

Sometimes we find something without looking for it at all. A bracelet on the street, a trinket in the thrift store, a social media posting that changes the shape of our day.

Another kind of “finding” is “finding out.” Think of times when you found that you liked something more (or less) than you used to. Maybe you found a dreaded event to be not-so-bad. You can find yourself to be delighted or annoyed about something. You might find a meal to be too hot, too cold, or just right. Maybe you have a story about finding yourself in good company, in trouble, or absolutely right (or wrong) about something.

After you have filled the page with one or more “finding” stories, look back over your work. Make small changes or additions if you want to clarify something. Add illustration or decoration, too, if you like.

Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, 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 just one example of the type of thing 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. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.