Write for You: Invent Something

by Nancy Casey

Imagine that you have been given the sudden ability to invent something new. What would it be?

There are lots of ways to invent something and many different types of inventions.

Many inventions are something like machines. You could invent a robot that behaves in a certain way. You could invent something to add to your body that gives you new abilities, such as special glasses or an extra limb.

You don’t have to limit yourself to inventions that obey the laws of gravity, biology, or time. You don’t have any restrictions at all when what you are inventing is imaginary.

Maybe you would like to invent something where you press a button. Press the button and then what happens?

Many inventions do some kind of useful work, such as building something or moving things around. Some inventions aren’t particularly useful. Instead they might do something that is interesting or beautiful.

Not all inventions are for doing things. Imaginary worlds, for instance, simply exist. You could invent one of those.

You could invent a language, or a new way of communicating. You could invent a conversation that didn’t take place and then invent a way to insert it into the past.

A person could invent plants or animals or living creatures that are neither or both.

What would you like to invent? Think about it while you set up your page. Draw a line where the title will go and set off some space for illustration if you like.

Describe your invention. Tell what it looks or tastes or feels like. Is it useful? Silent? Funny? Explain why it’s a good idea. Tell who will appreciate it and who will dislike it. Invent as many details as you can.

If you finish writing about one invention and still have room on the page, write about another one.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page if you would like. Sometimes a little doodling helps you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: So Many Coats

by Nancy Casey

It’s summer, but most of us keep a coat handy. There are still chilly mornings and unexpected thunderstorms. It doesn’t always stay warm after the sun goes down. Before the hot days of midsummer make you forget about most of the coats you have ever owned, write about coats.

Write about a coat that you have worn, or are wearing. A coat you might wear or one you wish you could.

There is a lot to say about a coat. They have so many different features and uses. A coat pocket can have a whole world inside. Certain coats are appropriate—or not—for certain places.

Do you have a coat that you like, or dislike? Do you have a coat that helps you out a lot? A coat that annoys you? Have you ever shared a coat?

Every coat has a history. It was made and then what? Sold, bought, lost, found, borrowed, given away, ripped, mended, worn, dyed, went places…?

What if all the coats in the closet talked to each other?

If you mind travels sideways and starts thinking about a coat of paint, you can write about that. Maybe a coat of paint will remind you of coats of wax, sweat, plastic, dust, and other coats that are coatings.

Some coats are imaginary. Have you ever tried to wrap yourself in a coat of confidence? Sometimes people are burdened by heavy coats of grief. What would it feel like to wear a coat of reverence or pride? What’s it like to take off an imaginary coat?

Write about one coat or several of them. When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page if you would like. Sometimes a little doodling will help you think up a good title.

Write the title at the top, and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

A Two-Fer from Write for You!

Your friendly webmaster (Darrell) was bad last week, and didn’t send out the weekly writing prompt.  So…  It’s two-fer Tuesday!  Scroll down for TWO prompts this week.

Older and Younger by 10

by Nancy Casey

Ten years. Is that a long time?

Sometimes, when you look back, 10 years can seem like 10 minutes. Sometimes, as you live through them, 10 minutes can seem like 10 years.

Today in your writing you will have a chance to think about the actual span of 10 years. What or who is 10 years older than you? Who or what is 10 years younger?

As you start to think about that, set up your page:

Draw a line at the top where you will write the title when you have finished.

Next, draw a circle, or a square or any kind of shape in the center of the page. That will be the space you can use for illustration and doodling.

Finally, draw two lines out from the center shape to the edge of the page in such a way that the remaining space on the page is divided roughly in half.

On one side of the page write the word “Older.” On the other side of the page, write “Younger.”

On the Older side of the page, write about things or people that are 10 years older than you. Think about people who are definitely older than you, but aren’t old enough to be your parent. Who was in high school when you were in preschool? Can you think of any inventions or types of knowledge that came into the world 10 years before you were born? What happened in history 10 years before you were born? Whatever those events left behind has been here 10 years longer than you.

On the Younger side of the page, write about people or things that are 10 years younger than you. Who was a baby when you were 10 years old? Do you remember what brand new technology or entertainment you longed for when you were 10? Do you have any books or toys or other objects that came into your life when you were 10? When you look at the people around you, is there anything particular you notice about the ones who are 10 years younger than you?

Use the illustration space to draw or doodle while you wait for ideas to pop into your mind.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add any decoration or color that you think the page needs. Sometimes a little doodling will help you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Ahead and Behind

Does your mind ever whirl round and round like a hamster in a cage, running through all the things that you must do? The things you ought to do? The things you wish you would do? The things that aren’t done yet?

Is your mind equally likely to spin, buzz, and review your many accomplishments?

Today in your writing, you will give your mind a chance to do both. First, set up your page.

Draw a line at the top where the title will go when you have finished. Beneath that line, add two subtitles. On the left write “Do.” On the right write “Done.”

Then make a pencil-thin column down the middle of the page. Inside that column write the letters of the alphabet.

What have you done so far in your life? Think about the chores you did this morning and your antics as a toddler. Think about the people you have helped, the meals you have cooked, the important things you have remembered. What have you organized? What messes have you cleaned up? Try and find something for every letter of the alphabet and write them down on the right-hand side of the page.

On the left-hand side of the page, write down things that you haven’t done yet. Think about the things you must do and the ones you ought to do. What do you wish you would do? Are there things you would like to learn? Places you would like to go? How would you like to change your life? What would you like to add to someone else’s experience?

There is an infinite universe of things you haven’t done out there. You don’t have to limit yourself to the ones that are “realistic.” Try to find something for every letter of the alphabet.

When you have filled up the page, write a title on the line you drew across the top. Write the date on it as well. Draw or doodle on the page if you want to do that. Sometimes a little doodling can help you get unstuck if you don’t know what to write. Doodling on the page after you have finished writing often helps you think up a good title.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

Do you find it easier to remember the past or imagine the future? Do you think of yourself as a person who “gets things done,” or someone burdened with more wishes and demands than one life has time for? You might want to get out a new page and write about that, too.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

 

Write for You: What Sunshine Does

by Nancy Casey

We are entering a new season. The sun is in the sky for more than fifteen and a half hours every day. There are fewer clouds and rainstorms to block its rays. This is a good time to pause and write a page about how sunshine affects the world we know.

Set up your page first. Draw a line at the top where you’ll put the title when you have finished. Set aside some space for drawing or doodling. (When you go back and look at your pages, you’ll be surprised by how much you like the ones that have some kind of illustration on them.)

The sun changes everything that it shines upon, so you won’t have trouble finding things to write about. Begin by writing the phrase,

When the sun shines on…

Continue by writing the name of something that the sun might shine upon.

If it is daytime and you are outdoors or near a window, you can see dozens of things responding to sunshine.

You also have many memories of sunshine, on your body and in the world around you. Some of those memories are in the form of knowledge—things that you have learned about the effects of sunshine without experiencing them yourself.

You can even think about sunshine in a symbolic way. Sometimes people talk about letting sunshine into attitudes, ideas, or the past. What happens when you “shed a little light” on something? In government, for example, “sunshine laws” are the laws that make sure government business isn’t conducted in secret.

Whatever you decide to start with, tell what happens when sunshine falls upon it. Write as little or as much as comes to your mind. Maybe you will fill up the whole page with ideas about just one thing. Maybe you will fill up a few lines and feel like you’ve said enough.

If you have room after your first idea, begin again,

When the sun shines on…

Name something else that the sun might shine upon and explain what happens when it does.

Continue this way until you have filled the page.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page however you would like. Sometimes a little doodling helps you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is somewhere on the page, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She teaches a writing class that is free and open to anyone. It meets Thursdays from 5:00-6:15 pm at the Recovery Center, 531 S. Main St in Moscow, ID. Drop-ins welcome! For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: What It Isn’t

by Nancy Casey


Stop by the Recovery Center at 5pm on Thursdays this summer to check out what happens in the Write For You writing class. It’s free and open to anyone. We do exercises like the one below. People can experiment with different kinds of writing and see what works best for them.


Writers often focus intently on an object or an idea so that they can describe it exactly as they perceive it. Today you will do the opposite of that. Instead of training your awareness on what something is, you will let your mind relax and consider the infinite possibilities of what something isn’t.

This is a chance to let your imagination roam all over the place. It’s also an opportunity to outlandish or silly.

Begin with something that is right in front of you. Any old object will do: a plant, a table, a smudge on the wall. Anything. Imagine that you chose the smudge. Then you would begin…

The smudge on the wall is not…

After that, you are free to add just about anything else, as long as it doesn’t describe the smudge on the wall. Perhaps the smudge on the wall is not the remnant of a chocolate chip cookie. It isn’t the Milky Way Galaxy, either. It’s also unlikely to be anybody’s great-grandfather.

After you have written that much, expand it a bit. You can add because and explain why. You could add qualifications that begin with words like unless, until or except. You can start a new phrase with if, however, although, or when.

After you have written a couple of lines, pause and reread. What you have written can be said to have two “leaps” in it. The first leap says what the thing isn’t. The second leap is in the (possibly absurd) explanation that follows. Each leap is an opportunity to take a giant step in your imagination. Did you range far from your initial idea?

Pluck one word from what you just wrote, start a new line, and write down what the new thing isn’t. Add a bit of explanation just like you did the first time. Pause. Reread. Choose a word from the last part you wrote. Begin the next section by describing what that newest word isn’t.

Work you way down the page that way. Allow your mind to let go of the obligation to write “about” anything. Just wander and discover how many places your path will go. When you have finished, reread everything. You might discover that you wrote “about” something after all. Or maybe not.

Whatever your writing seems to be “about,” add some kind of illustration or decoration to the page and give it a title. Write the date on it as well.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. Anyone can drop in for the Thursday writing class she teaches at the Recovery Center at 5:00. For more information about other opportunities for writers, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: No Pain

by Nancy Casey

If someone says, “No pain…” and then pauses, zillions of people will automatically say, “No gain.” Maybe you are one of them. A person might say it out loud, or they might say it in their mind, a message from themselves, an anti-affirmation.

“No pain, no gain” is a half-truth. Half-truths are dangerous thoughts. The true half lets in the false half. The false half can hurt you.

The true half of the statement, of course, is the idea that in overcoming pain and healing from its effects, a person learns and grows a lot.

The false half is the hidden implication that the first step on the path to growth is to inflict pain on oneself. Or to appreciate it when someone else does.

The full truth: Pain hurts. When there’s no pain, there’s no pain.

Today in your writing, celebrate the idea of being pain-free.

Begin, as always, by setting up your page. Draw a line at the top where you will write your title when you have finished. Set off an area for drawing or doodling if you want to.

Write the words, “No pain.” Then write down something that is possible in the absence of pain. Describe it a little. Or describe it in great detail if many details come to mind.

Then start a new line and write the words again, “No pain.” What else is possible in the absence of pain?

You can imagine the absence of certain pains in your own life, in the lives of other people, or in the whole big world. To keep from dwelling on the pain, don’t describe it. Just write “No pain,” and move on to describing what’s possible without it. When you think about the absence of a particular pain, sometimes you get derailed because there are so many ways to think about the pain. If that happens, interrupt yourself, ask, “And what would be possible without it?”

Nobody who is alive and aware in the world gets very far without experiencing pain. As you fill up this page you will create pain-free pockets in your imagination. Use your writing to enjoy what they are like.

Give your work a title when you have finished. Write the date on it as well.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


A group called “Write for You” meets every Thursday at 5:00 pm at the Recovery Center. Anyone can drop in. In each class, people do a page-writing exercise like this one and hear a little pep talk about writing. There is also a closed group where people share their work. Someone who works hard and jumps through a few hoops can earn a Writing Certificate. You can get all the info by coming to the 5:00 class. Or find out more by contacting Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here.

Write for You: Advertise an Obligation

by Nancy Casey

Before you sit down to write today, cast your mind into the future and think about the many responsibilities and obligations that await you. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on any particular one or calculate whether you have time for them all. Resist mental scheduling and rescheduling. Just take an imaginary boat ride over that ocean of responsibility that you have out there.

You have responsibilities to yourself. You do so many different things each day to keep yourself alive, healthy and amused in the world.

Obligations arise in every kind of relationship—in families and friendships, with co-workers, among members of study and support groups, and in traffic. Even in fleeting relationships with strangers, we have certain obligations.

Many of us feel responsible for certain plants, animals, or machines. Many feel responsibilities towards their ancestors or others who are no longer alive.

Of all these myriad responsibilities that you have, choose one. Big or small. It doesn’t matter. Something you dread or something you love. Any responsibility or obligation that you have.

For your writing today, you will make a page-sized poster like the ones you see on bulletin boards and utility poles that advertise a coming event. The event you will advertise is the exciting opportunity to meet the responsibility that you have chosen to write about.

To give you some ideas for getting started, here are some of the elements of such a poster:

  • Different sizes of type or lettering
  • An eye-catching title
  • A bulleted list of enticements
  • Unpleasant parts are made to sound wonderful
  • Short phrases
  • An inviting tone
  • Illustration
  • Color
  • Conveys interest and excitement
  • Grabs your interest from across the room.

Here is an example of what a person could do.

When you have finished the poster, read it over and check out how it looks from far away. Add anything else that you need on the page. Write the date on it as well.

You can share your poster by taking a picture of it and posting it as a comment below.


Writing classes start this Thursday at the LRC! Please come! 5:00-6:30pm.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories, novels, homework, etc. To sign up for the classes she teaches at the Recovery Center or get more information about them, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community
Center
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