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.

 

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.

 

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.

A Letter from the Grand Hotel

by Nancy Casey

Today, your writing will take the form of a letter. You can write it to a real or imaginary person, and you don’t have to mail it.

Pretend that you have just arrived at a Grand Hotel, a splendid vacation spot with marvelous amenities and superb convenience. Write a letter telling your friend how amazing, wonderful and perfect everything is.

Here’s the catch: all the details of the letter have to be details about your very own home and surroundings.

You can tell about the services, the entertainment, and the furnishings. You can tell what makes it comfortable and pleasant. In the spirit of making lemonade from lemons, you can describe challenges or discomforts in terms of the outstanding opportunities for growth that they present to you.

You can say anything you want, as long as it is positive to the point of bragging and describes something real and factual about your home and surroundings.

Begin to set up your page by drawing a large rectangle that makes the page have a frame around it that’s about an inch wide. The frame will be your drawing space. Your title will go in the frame, too. At the very top of the page, draw a long rectangle inside the frame that the title will fit into when it comes time to write it.

Write the date at the top of the writing space like you would for a letter, and begin with “Dear So-and-So”… using a person’s real name.

If ideas for bragging up your living space come to mind right away, begin writing. Every time you have to stop and think, don’t stop your pen from moving, just move over to the drawing space and begin decorating the frame. When you get another idea for writing, move over to the writing area and continue there.

Try not to ever pause completely. Always keep your pen moving in one part of the page or another. Either decorate the frame, or add to the letter. Can you do it? Sometimes it takes practice and concentration at first, but the reward is usually a deep calming inside your mind.

As you get down to the end of the writing part of the page, sign off the way you do when you write a letter. Read over your work. Make small changes if you need to. If you haven’t yet finished decorating the page’s frame, keep working on that until you are completely satisfied with the whole page.

When a title pops into your mind, write it down in the rectangle you have saved for it.

Here is one example of what someone’s page could look like.

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