Connected by Color

by Nancy Casey

Today in your writing, you will get a chance to make some unusual connections by looking for identical colors in totally different places.

Set up your page first: draw a line across the top where your title will go and set off a a box or blob to use for illustration if you like.

Then sit back and look at the space around you, indoors, probably, and perhaps out a window. See if you can disconnect your mind from naming what you see and instead notice only the colors. Look closely, and you’ll see that an orange thing isn’t just orange. There many shades of orange that appear on the surface of one orange thing. On closer inspection, something that’s orange probably has flecks of other colors mixed in.

Not only that, your eyes work in a unique way. Color isn’t absolute. You see colors the way that you see them. No one is quite sure if any two people see colors in the same way.

You can be sure, however, that if you see a color in one place, it’s likely you can find a color that looks the same to you somewhere else.

So try it. Look around you and take note of a particular specific color that you see somewhere. It’s likely not to be a whole object, but rather a single tiny part of something. Study it carefully. Sometimes if you try to draw an object (even if you “can’t” draw) you will notice the colors more. Take careful note of the color you have chosen, then cast your eye around and see where you can find the same color on an entirely different thing.

Maybe the corner of a box of crackers will make an exact match to the color of a doorknob or the tip of a shoelace. Perhaps a thread in the pattern of a shirt will be the same color as the edge of a ball left out in the yard. Look hard and try to surprise yourself with the color matches that you find.

Write down some information about the colors—how they appear to you and where you found them. Then continue with some more details about the two things you have connected by color. Tell a bit more about them, even if the details seem completely irrelevant. It’s okay to let your thoughts ramble a bit.

If you still have room on the page, look around for a new color and repeat the process. Do it as many times as you can until the page is full.

Add some drawing or decoration to the page if you haven’t already.

When the page is completely full, look it over carefully. Make small changes if you like. Wait for a title idea to float into your mind. Put the title at the top of the page. Add the date and a signature, 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. 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.

Giving Thanks for Stuff

by Nancy Casey

Gratitude is appropriate any day of the year, but this week marks the official season of giving thanks. Once we begin looking, we can find much to be thankful for—people and relationships, pets and houseplants, life lessons, personal growth, and STUFF. Yes, stuff. Our stuff. The inanimate objects that populate our lives and living spaces. And perhaps even clutter them up.

It’s rather fashionable these days to decry how much stuff we have, to say we’re supposed to downsize and not behave like a hoarder. Maybe you live surrounded by oodles of stuff, or maybe you live sparse and lean like you are on a backpack trip. Whatever the case, you have some stuff and you wouldn’t have the stuff that you have if you didn’t like it for some reason.

Today in your writing, celebrate your stuff. Look around you. What do you see? What do you have? Maybe some of the things you see make you tired or make you wish they weren’t there, but for the most part, we like our stuff, it does something for us.

As you set up your page, meditate on all of the inanimate objects that you call “mine.”

Draw a line across the top of the page where your title will go so you are certain to have a place to put it when you have finished writing. You can also draw a box or blob that you’ll use for illustration. Or make a border that you can decorate. Sometimes the drawing helps settle your mind so ideas can flow in.

Concentrate on your stuff—what you can see, what you know is behind you, in a different room or even in a storage locker or at a friend’s house. Consider why the various objects are in your life. Remind yourself what they do for you. Some things have important memories attached. Others are just plain useful. We own certain things for the simple fact that we like the way they look.

Pick an object that you like and tell why you are glad to have it. If that doesn’t take up a whole page, pick another one and sing its praises on the page. If there’s still room, write about another object, and another. When you feel like you’ve written enough, stop. If there’s still room on the page, fill it with drawing or decoration.

When the page is all filled up, 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.


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.

A Perfect Meal

by Nancy Casey

The Thanksgiving season is upon us. The holiday represents many things, and it differs for different people, but the one thing all the celebrations seem to have in common is eating.

Some people are enthusiastically planning meals. Others are dreading and dodging invitations. Some folks revel in the chance to overeat, while others will only be nibbling tiny bites.

But we all eat. Hopefully 365 days a year. All the pressures of the perfect Thanksgiving aside, what is your idea of a perfect meal?

The obvious way to consider perfection in a meal is by imagining the food or foods it will have in it. Do you have a stand-out food that makes a meal feel perfect every time you eat it? Are you someone who loves so many foods that they couldn’t possibly fit into a single meal? You could write about an imaginary perfect meal that would be impossible to eat at one sitting.

Beyond food, there are many other ways that perfection can slip into a meal.

Maybe what makes a meal good to you is the company you are eating with, who they might be, what they have in common with you, what they say, how they behave. Perhaps you find that you yourself alone makes the best company of all—why would that be? Maybe your best meals are eaten with a pet nearby.

Another way that perfection can slip into a meal is the context. The place where you eat can influence your appreciation of the meal—the sights, the sounds, the smells. Think of favorite forks and spoons, plates and cups, a favorite table or chair, the best lighting or view.

Sometimes what makes a meal so good is that a certain person cooked it. Or the experience of several people cooking together. Some people say that their favorite food is anything that somebody else cooked. Other people only like their own cooking.

For some people, the gathering of ingredients is the best part—shopping, gardening, gleaning. Or maybe the cutting, chopping and stirring. Or the place you cook it.

What if your favorite meal is one you don’t have to eat? Or full of foods that aren’t good for you? Then maybe you’ll focus on the complications of living in a society where so many people are focused on effortless eating.

Think about the interesting parts of your relationship with food as you set up your page. Draw a line across the top where your title will go. You can also draw a box or blob that you’ll use for illustration. Or leave space to decorate a border around your work.

Begin writing by describing some kind of perfect meal according to your standards. Delve into any aspect of it, from eating partners to recipes or doing the dishes. If all the details you can think of don’t fill the page, think of another type of meal you find compelling and describe that one, too

When you feel like you’ve written enough, stop. If there’s still room on the page, fill it with drawing or decoration.

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.


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.

Thumb’s the Word

by Nancy Casey

If you are making marks on paper, is it writing? You would say yes, if the marks were words, all in a row, organized into paragraphs and having a meaning that other people could read about.

What about scribbles, do they count as writing? Is drawing a form of writing? Doodling?

Today, do a little experiment with yourself and see what you think. You will start your page with drawing, and then, optionally, add written words to it. What will you draw? Your thumb! Yes, your thumb.

Before you get started, draw a line at the top of the page where you can write a title when you have finished.

Lay your non-writing hand on or near the page where you can see it, and begin to draw your thumb. Plan on making 3 or 4 drawings of your thumb.

Here are some tips:

  • Use ink, not pencil. If you give yourself a chance to erase, you’ll get caught up in the idea of perfection. You’re not trying to make a perfect rendition of your thumb. You’re trying to find out what it’s like to look at something and mark up the paper because of what you see.
  • Try looking at your thumb and drawing it without looking at the paper. This is called “blind contour drawing” and many artists use it as a warm-up. The results are interesting and sometimes amusing.
  • Make an entire thumb-drawing without ever lifting your pen from the page.
  • Make your drawing with only dots. Or curlicues.
  • When you have “finished” a rendition of your thumb, look at it some more and add something else to your drawing.
  • Make a 5-second drawing of your thumb.
  • Instead of drawing your actual thumb, draw all the shadows you can find in and around it.
  • Instead of drawing your whole thumb, zero in on a small part of it and only draw that. Maybe even use a magnifying glass.
  • After you have drawn your thumb a couple of times and you feel quite finished with thumb-drawing, draw it one more time.
  • As long as you are looking at your thumb and marking up the page, you can’t mess this up.

When you feel as if you have drawn enough, add some words to the page. You can write in the empty spaces. You can write straight over the top of your drawings.

You could write about what the experience of drawing your thumb was like. You could comment on what your thumb looks like. Maybe you were thinking about something that didn’t have anything to do with drawing or thumbs as you drew, so you could write about that. Perhaps you are reminded of a story that has a thumb or two in it.

Do you think drawing and writing are two versions of the same thing? Or two entirely different things?

When the page is full, give all your work a good looking-over. 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.


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. Covid-permitting, in-person Write-for You classes at the Recovery Center will return in the spring.

The Easy Ones

by Nancy Casey

When we face a difficult task or some kind of challenge, the activities involved don’t often escape our attention. It’s the easy things that often slip by without notice. Today in your writing, focus on what’s easy.

It’s pretty easy to set up your page: draw a line across the top where your title will go. You can also draw a box or blob that you’ll use for illustration. As you do this, think over all the things that are easy for you. So easy perhaps that you hardly even pay attention to them.

First off, there are the skills that you have. Maybe you have rebuilt dozens of computers and you could rebuild another one with your eyes closed. Perhaps you are great at frying eggs. Are you a fast reader? A good athlete? Can you make dogs wag their tails? Are you able to type really fast on a phone with your thumbs?

Think about your daily routine. Is it easy for you to leap out of bed, or are you good at sleeping in? Is it easy for you to spend time on social media? To connect with certain friends? Are you good at talking, listening, or giving people the benefit of the doubt?

What’s easy for you to forget? What’s easy to remember?

Some things are easy for us, even though we wish that they weren’t. Maybe it’s easy for you to lie awake in bed at night trying to change the past. Perhaps you would have no difficulty eating a whole bag of chips, or marshmallows. Would you find it easy to skip school or work? Is it easy for you to lose your temper?

A lot of people dread and procrastinate various tasks, only to discover once they do them that they were quite easy after all. Does that ever happen to you?

Even though the difficult things can take up much of our attention, life is peppered with easy things, too. Begin your writing today by describing one thing that is, or has been, easy for you. Tell what it is, and write a little something about it.

You could fill your whole page by telling the story of that one thing—why it’s easy, how to do it, what it’s like, how often you do it, and so forth. Or, after you have written everything you have to say about one easy thing, you’ll still have room on the page to write about another easy thing. And perhaps another, and another. Maybe your writing will be more like a list.

If you can’t decide what to write, begin by scribbling or drawing. That can help your mind relax so you can think more clearly. When an idea about something easy pops into your mind, write it down and see where it takes you. Don’t be too fussy about how you start. One idea usually leads to another one.

When you feel like you’ve written enough, stop. If there’s still room on the page, fill it with drawing or decoration.

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.


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.

The Old and the New

by Nancy Casey

Sometimes it feels like nothing ever changes. Other times things feel so chaotic, it seems like nothing stays the same. The truth about life and living, of course, lies somewhere between these two extremes. Whether it’s easy to see that or not.

Today’s exercise will give you a chance to notice parts of your life that lie on both ends of that spectrum, which helps you see that change and stability are always operating at the same time.

Begin by setting up your page.  Draw a line at the top where you will write your title when you have filled up the rest of the page. If you are going to set aside a box or a blob to fill with illustration, put it in the middle somewhere. Then draw a line, straight or squiggled, that will divide the writing space in two relatively equal parts. Label one side of the page “Old” and the other side “New.”

As you do the setup, relax your mind and try to notice what’s old and what’s new in your life. You can think about things—the objects around you and your various possessions, like dishes, clothing, electronics, and furniture. You can also think about where you keep your things or how and when you use them.

Locations can be old or new to you—your home, your workplace, your favorite or un-favorite places to go. The appearance or disappearance of people in your life can be old or new.

Many intangible things can be old and new as well. Your beliefs. Your attitude. What you do and don’t understand.

On the “old” side of the page, write down what’s old in your life. Say what it is, make a comment or two about it and move on to another one. Do the same for the “new” side of the page. You can fill one whole side of the page and then the other. Or you can skip back and forth by letting various objects and aspects of your life float into your mind and then asking yourself, “Is this old or is this new?”

You can pause anytime during your writing to draw or doodle. Sometimes that helps ideas come to mind. If you prefer you can do all of the drawing at the beginning, or the end. Or you can skip the drawing altogether.

Allow you page to come together however it will. When it is full, take a break and look over everything that you have done. When a title pops into your mind, write it on the line at the top of the page. Put the date and a signature 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. 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.

Left and Right

by Nancy Casey

We tend not to see what surrounds us in our daily life. We’re just so used to it, our eyes pass over just about everything without actually noticing anything. Today’s writing exercise will give you a chance to focus on a small part of your surroundings, rather than trying to take in everything.

First, set up your page. Draw a line at the top where you will write the title after you have finished the rest of the page. If you are going to set aside a space for drawing, put it either across the top or the bottom, or smack in the very middle of the page. (You can draw or doodle in that space before, during, or after your writing.) Finally, draw a line down the middle to divide the remainder of the page into two equal parts.

Turn your head so it faces 90 degrees to the left so that your gaze goes directly out across your left shoulder. What do you see? On the left hand side of the page, write down some of what you see directly to your left. Add a short (or long) comment about each item you write down. You could describe it in exquisite detail or explain why it is there. If it is something of great significance to you, you could explain that. Or you could write anything at all about what it reminds you of.

When you have filled the left-hand side of the page with observations about what is directly to your left, read over what you have written. Then turn your head to the right, look out across your right shoulder and once again describe a few of the things that you see directly to your right and comment on them. When that side of the page is filled up, read over what you have written.

Now that all of your writing space is full, turn your head to the left again and look at what’s there. Make a mental note of five or six things that you could have written about, but didn’t. There’s no room left to write about them on this page, so just notice them and tell yourself what you could have written about them.

Then turn your head to the right and do the same thing—notice what you didn’t write about and make comments to yourself about each thing.

As you do this looking-without-writing, a title might come into your mind. Or maybe it already occurred to you as you read what you wrote down. If you haven’t filled your drawing space, perhaps the title will arrive as you do that.

When you have thought up a title, write it on the line at the top of the page. Put the date and a signature somewhere on the page, too.

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

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.

Sensing the Silence

by Nancy Casey

For your writing today, you must surround yourself with as much silence as you can. Turn off the music, silence the devices, and unplug the machines. If other people are in your living/writing space, let them know, if necessary, that you won’t be engaging for a bit. Be as still as you can.

Quiet your mind as much as your mind will allow. Maybe you know some techniques for that, such as slow breathing or meditation.

Perhaps you will want to go outside. That works. You can lie down if you like. Sit somewhere. Or even take a slow walk. The idea is to create as much silence around and inside of yourself as you can.

Once you have settled into your personal puddle of silence, allow your awareness to take in whatever information your senses receive. When you are ready, write a page about what you noticed.

You can do this by creating the silence around you, and then while you are inside it, writing down what you perceive.

You might prefer to spend 10 or 20 minutes in the silence and after that write down some of the things that you perceived.

It could even turn out that creating and experiencing the silence itself was so interesting to you that you want to write about what that was like.

Some people find silence intolerable and impossible. If you think you are like that, give it a try anyway and write about what it was like to make the attempt.

Sometimes your mind refuses to be quiet. A little bit of silence can make room for plans, worry, regrets, old conversations, and remembering. When that happens, actively return to your senses. Ask yourself questions like, What do I hear? How do my feet feel? What do I see? Where is my tongue? Do your best to take in details of the present moment. Even a really boring moment has details in it. Write some of them down.

Before you start to write, make sure to leave room at the top of the page where you can write your title when you are all finished. At any point in your writing, you can shift over to drawing or doodling. Some people find that moving the pen without making words and sentences helps them be more grounded and aware of the present moment. This, in turn, will give you more things to write about.

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.


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.

Who We Use to be

by Nancy Casey

We all use to be different. We use to be less than two feet tall. We use to be unaware that 1 + 1 = 2. We use to have friends, habits or interests different than the ones we have now. Today in your writing, you will focus on some of the details of the way you use to be.

Think about this as you set up a page with a line across the top where your title will go. You can also draw a box or blob to set aside some space for illustration.

Because every life is characterized by change, there is much to say about the way you use to be. In some cases things get better, in others they get worse, but over and over again, things get different.

Consider your habits—eating, drinking, and amusements. Did your day always begin—or end—the way it does now? Is there someone you use to always talk to who is no longer in your life, or who has left the world? Did you use to read, exercise, or look at a screen more or less than you do now?

Many particulars slide out of our lives as we mature. What did you use to do when you were little that would be odd if you did it now? How did you use to think the world worked? What expectations did you use to have for your life?

Have you always lived where you live now? Dress the way you dress today? Listen to the same music you listened to a year (or a decade) ago? Consider the ways your body has changed over time. Consider your health, your attitude, and the activities you turn to when you are bored.

Begin writing with the phrase, “I use to…” and write whatever comes into your mind next. Describe what you use to do, but leave out the parts about why you use to do it or why you don’t do it anymore.. Focus your concentration on the way you use to be without judging or explaining.

After you have described one thing that you use to do, repeat the words “I use to…” and describe some other quality or activity that has melted out of your life.

Fill the page that way, and when you have finished, you will have made a mosaic of details drawn from your past. Maybe you will be surprised or impressed by the ways that describing how you use to be can also describe the way you are.

At any point in your writing, you can pause to add illustrations or doodling to give you time to think.

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.


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 in the neighborhood, they will return.

Would-a, Could-a, Should-a

by Nancy Casey

Would-a. Should-a. Could-a.

Those are the words we use when we imagine a different past. We’re often advised not to use them—neither out loud or when we talk to ourselves. And when we do, we get reminded that we would-a, could-a, should-a said something different.

Sounds exhausting. It’s terribly hard to refrain from thinking certain thoughts. Because you have to think them to remind yourself not to think them.

Today in your writing, let ‘em rip. Open the gates and let them in. There will be a few other requirements, too, but first, set up your page while you allow yourself to imagine some of the things you wish were different about the past.

Draw a line at the top of the page where you can put a title when you finish writing. If you want to set aside a space for doodles and illustration, do that next. Then draw lines to divide the remaining space on the page into four roughly equal parts.

Write the words Would-aShould-a, and Could-a as headings at the top of three of those spaces. Leave the fourth one blank, at least for now.

In each of the spaces, write about something that would-a, should-a, could-a been different. Maybe about something that you did or didn’t do. Maybe about the actions of someone else. Perhaps one event will fit in the small space, or maybe more than one.

Each time you tell a little Would-aShould-a, or Could-a story, add the words, “But, oh well, …” and write at least one more sentence that places the event(s) in the past and says something about the present.

You might say something about how you survived, what you learned, or what doors wouldn’t have opened without the events you (sort of) regret. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe you had fun, or it worked out well for someone else. Maybe it was the best way to learn what not to do the next time.

When you have filled the three spaces with Would-aShould-a, Could-a stories, write anything you would like in the fourth space. Maybe some more Would-aShould-a, or Could-a stories, or some comments about what you wrote, or what you thought about writing it.

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.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help or encouragement 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.