Not Happening

by Nancy Casey

Today in your writing, let your imagination float away to a different world. Write about anything you like, as long as it hasn’t happened.

As you set up your page, think about how the whole universe of what hasn’t happened is so much more vast than the map of everything that actually has happened.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. You can always draw or doodle while you wait for a writing idea to come to mind.

One category of things that haven’t happened consists of everything you imagine happening later today. Or next year.

Another category: things that haven’t happened because they are against the laws of physics and the natural world as we know it. Rocks sprouting fingers, for instance, or a neutron star moving into the house next door.

Somewhere in the middle of those two categories are all the things that might happen. There are those that probably will, and those that probably won’t. Some you wish will indeed happen and others you dread.

What about all of the things that you can’t even imagine happening? It’s pretty hard to write about them! Can you draw any of them?

When you have filled up the page with events that haven’t occurred, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.


Raised by God: The Autobiography of Patricia Clayton is a new book that grew out of the Write For You program at LRC. It is the story of a person making herself new after years of addiction and trauma.

What’s New?

by Nancy Casey

Tradition has it that we must emerge from the holiday season with a resolution or two that will make the year ahead better for us in some way. Very often, by the second week in January, those resolutions exist only in memory.

What if, instead of (or along with) organizing something new into our lives, we celebrated all that is new already? As you set yourself up to write a page, consider your possessions, your surroundings, and your attitude. Ask yourself, What’s new?

Think about your most recent shopping—whether in person or online. The fruits of that endeavor will be new to you.

Did anything new come your way over the holidays? Maybe a gift. Maybe a new friend?

Is there anything that you think of as “new,” even though it’s been present in your life for a long time?

Have you tried anything new lately? Think about places you have gone and foods you have eaten. Have external factors changed your routine so that you have new habits, whether you want them or not?

Attitudes might change slowly, but once they do, something about you is “new.” Is there some aspect of your approach to life that is different from a month, a year, or a decade ago? What’s new about it? What does this change mean to you?

Newness and change don’t always bring us joy. Perhaps there is a new aspect to your life, but you like the old version better. You could write about that.

Maybe your writing will come out resembling a list. Or maybe you have a whole big story to tell about something that’s new to you—how it came about, what the “old” was like, and what the change represents.

As you ponder the newness of the new, 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 writing ideas don’t come to you right away. (Whatever you do to the page will make it “new.”)

As soon as you get an idea, begin writing about it. If you don’t think the idea is very good, write about it anyway. Maybe it will turn into a good one. Maybe a better idea will crowd it out as soon as you start writing and you can write about that idea next.

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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.


Raised by God: The Autobiography of Patricia Clayton is a new book that grew out of the Write For You program at LRC. It is the story of a person making herself new after years of addiction and trauma.


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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Excitement!

It’s pretty exciting to see your name on the cover of a book, so imagine the excitement that Trish Clayton is feeling these days. Raised by God: The Autobiography of Patricia Clayton was published this month.

Trish and I met through the Write for You program at the Latah Recovery Center. In 2020 she started each day by writing down a story from her life, not a really long story, maybe a couple of pages at most. Two years and a lot of hard work later, Trish’s life story, Raised by God, is a book that anyone can buy on Amazon.

It begins with her birth and tells a story of intergenerational trauma, multiple addictions, suicide attempts, repeated relapses, and two decades (and counting!) of recovery and sobriety.

The back of the book says, “This is an account of her ride to the bottom and the decades-long process of recovering her life, her sanity, and her relationship with God.”

This is an interesting–and perhaps triggering–read for anyone who has been affected by family trauma and addiction.

For people who want to be more informed about addiction and recovery, Trish’s up-close and personal account shows how nobody decides to become an addict because they think it’s a good idea. She takes us through the thought processes that caused her to relapse over and over. Her story explains how and why it took her so long to “learn what she needed to learn.”

Congratulations, Trish, for the book, but also for your recovery, your life, and your inspiration.

Trish appeared on Recovery Radio in June of 2020. You can listen to that interview here.

In January, Trish and I will be organizing events like book signings and other presentations, so stay tuned for that.

Write for You will be offline for the month of December. Look for a return of weekly writing prompts in January.

Wishing everyone a happy and interesting holiday season.

If you are casting about for a New Year’s resolution, remember this: Writing 30 pages on a Saturday will change your weekend, but writing one page a day will change your life.


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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Forgotten Footwear

by Nancy Casey

How many different pairs of shoes do you suppose you have worn in your life? Of those, how many have you forgotten about, until now? Today, write about shoes you once wore but do not wear or think about very much anymore.

Open your mind to memories of shoes as you set up to write. Get your stuff out and arrange it in a way that looks pleasing to you. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up.

Think about shoes you loved, shoes you hated, shoes you lost and shoes you outgrew.

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. Draw a shoe, or just scribble.

As soon as the memory of a pair of shoes (or flip-flops, or boots) you don’t wear anymore pops into your mind, begin writing. Describe them. Maybe tell a little bit about your history together. Where did you go with them on your feet? Were they comfortable? Did you choose them? Did you like them? What did you call them?

Footwear leaves our lives for many reasons. It gets worn out. One of the pair gets chewed up by a dog. We decide it’s ugly. It hurts our feet. A better pair comes along…

Perhaps you will remember so many things about a pair of shoes or boots you thought you had forgotten that you will fill the whole page with remarks about that one pair.

Or maybe you only have a little bit to say about the first pair of footwear that came to mind. If that happens, doodle while you wait for another shoe-memory to bubble up to the surface of your mind. Maybe you will draw more footwear than you write about.

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Finish Lines

by Nancy Casey

Have you crossed any finish lines lately? It can be hard to remember all the things that we finish day to day, because once we finish something, we often forget about it. Today when you write, you will start with the words,

“I finished…”

Arrange your stuff in a way that looks pleasing to you. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up. As you do that, brainstorm with yourself about the idea of finishing something and the kinds of things you have finished lately.

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. If your mind feels empty of ideas, doodling, drawing, or even just scribbling, relaxes your mind so ideas can get in.

Write down the words, “I finished…” and complete the sentence by describing something that, for you, is “all done.” Comment on it if you like. If it reminds you of anything you haven’t finished, don’t write about that.

At work, in school, or running a household, all sorts of things get finished—job duties, assignments, laundry, meals, and all sorts of tasks like those.

You could think about how your day tends to be ordered. What “parts” does your day seem to have? What is finished when you go from one part to the next?

Are some things that you finish more satisfying that others?

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Ready for Winter?

by Nancy Casey

Here on the Palouse, we’ve arrived in the season that slides into winter. The precipitation is drizzly and cold. We’re getting some previews of snow. The daylight time is short and getting shorter. We turn our clocks back next weekend. Are you ready for what’s coming?

Today, write about how you get ready for the changes that winter brings. Have you done some things already? Will you be doing some more things soon?

Think about what it takes to keep you comfortable and happy in the winter. At the same time, get our your writing stuff and set up your page.

Draw a line across the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like. Start out by drawing or doodling if it helps your mind focus.

When an idea about getting ready for winter pops into your mind, write it down. One idea will lead to another. If it doesn’t right away, draw or doodle to keep yourself focused on the page.

Maybe you will write about how you adapt to the weather—how you change your routine to stay warm and dry, the clothes you start wearing and where you keep them.

Do your eating habits change in winter? What about your social life, work responsibilities or favorite amusements? Do you look forward to these changes? How do you get ready for them?

Perhaps you have hobbies, activities, or projects that you like to do in winter. How do you set yourself up for them so that everything goes smoothly?

When you have filled up the page with thoughts about preparing for winter, look back over your work. Add illustration or decoration if you like. Take a moment to notice what you have done.

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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

That Super-Tiny Stuff

by Nancy Casey

Although you might not want it anywhere, you can find it just about everywhere: in the sky, on the ground, in your shoes, under the bed, even in outer space. In can make you bat your eyelashes, or bring on an asthma attack. If you get Covid, it can feel like your brain is full of it.

Today, write about dust.

Clear the dust from your mind and your workspace and set yourself up to write.

Arrange your writing stuff in front of you so it looks pleasing to you. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up.

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.

What, exactly, is dust anyway? Where does it come from? What does it turn into when it’s not dust anymore? You could write about that.

You could write about all the dust that you can see from where you are sitting.

What are some of the best ways to get rid of dust? If you get it wet, is it still dust?

Another possibility would be to write about all the ways that dust can be annoying. Or all the places and spaces where there is dust and it really doesn’t bother you.

If you want to get scientific, you could gather up some dust and look at it with a magnifying glass. Do dust particles have different sizes, shapes and colors?

The phrase dust to dust comes from the Bible. What does that mean? Do you think it’s true?

Dust can be a metaphor, too. What does it mean if you say your mind or your memory is filled with dust? Can that happen to a relationship? What if you are left in the dust? Have you ever been dusted off? Or dusted up? What happens when the dust settles?

Do you have a story you can tell in which dust plays a role? Has dust ever made your day, or ruined your plans?

Write down the first idea that comes into your mind. Most people keep getting ideas once they start writing. (If you don’t, doodle on the page somewhere so you don’t stop “writing.”)

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Questions, Questions

by Nancy Casey

There are a lot more questions in this world than answers. Today in your writing, have a little fun asking questions. Skip the answers. Just ask the questions.

First, get your page set up. Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. A good way to set aside space for illustration is to draw a frame around the page that you can decorate, either now or later.

Write the letters of the alphabet, A-Z down the left-hand side of the page.

For each letter, write a question that uses a word that begins with that letter.

You can start with “A” and work your way down the page. Or you can skip around.

Maybe you will know the answers to the questions you ask, and maybe you won’t.

To be creative with your question-making, think about the basic question words, the ones that start with “W.” Who, what, when, where, why?

There is also How? As in How many…? Or How does…?

Yes-or-no questions are a possibility. They might start out with Does…? Or Is…?

Sometimes you can make a question more interesting if it uses words like if or would somehow.

Write down the first idea that comes into your mind, and then just keep going.

When you have filled up the page, read through all of your questions. Add illustration or decoration if you like.

Do your questions form any kind of a pattern or seem to tell a story? 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

What is the Sky?

by Nancy Casey

Go outside, look up, and there it is—the sky.

What is the sky anyway? What is it made of? How far does it go? If something is in the sky, is it part of the sky?

Today, write a page about the sky.

With the sky on your mind, get out your writing stuff. Arrange it in a way that looks pleasing to you. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up.

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. If your mind feels empty of ideas, doodling, drawing, or even simply scribbling, relaxes your mind and gently draws your focus to the writing task. When an idea comes, you’ll be ready to write it down.

You can consider the sky from the viewpoint of a scientist and write down ways that it can be observed and measured. What would be different if you considered the sky from a religious viewpoint? What is the sky like if you take the viewpoint of a dog or a plant?

You could write down a story that has the sky in it. Your story could be true or made up—or both.

Is it possible to write a whole page of questions about the sky? Or a whole page of statements about the sky that are false?

You could divide your page into two parts, label them “Day” and “Night” and write thoughts and observations about the sky appropriate to each heading. What other headings could you use instead of “Day” and “Night?” Now and Then? Winter and Summer? Child and Adult?

As you relax into your writing task, write down the first idea that comes into your mind. Don’t hold out for a “good” idea. Most people keep getting more ideas once they start writing. (If you don’t, doodle some more. If you fill your whole page with doodling…well, you filled a page!) Whatever idea you begin with, chances are your ideas will get more and more interesting as your work your way down the page.

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Erosion

by Nancy Casey

Erosion is going on always and everywhere. Geologists tell us that it is the relentless process that ensures that nothing on the surface of the earth stays the same for very long.

A river carrying rock and dirt downstream gradually made the Grand Canyon. Wind, and the little particles it carries, have worn away mountains. Erosion has caused whole cliffs with houses on them to fall into the sea.

It’s not just the surface of the earth that is affected by erosion. A hole in a well-worn article of clothing can be caused by erosion, too!

Think about erosion as your prepare your writing situation for the day. Get out your stuff and arrange it in front of you so that it’s pleasing to you. Take a breath or two. Wiggle around a little to loosen yourself up.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration if you like.

Consider the world around you. Think about the erosion that happens to the earth when it rains or when the wind blows. Sometimes you can see it happening, and sometimes you can’t.

Imagine all the different things you know of that can wear out. How often is erosion the cause?

You can think of erosion in a metaphoric or symbolic way, too. When an intense feeling becomes less acute, what has caused it to erode?

What besides feelings can erode inside yourself? A conviction? A sense of resolve? A desire? A memory?

Is there something that you wish would (or wouldn’t) erode?

What does time erode?

Allow your mind to settle into these thoughts, and when an idea about erosion occurs to you, write it down. You could explain what causes the erosion and what the end result will be. You can tell if you think the erosion is good or bad and whether you can slow it down or speed it up.

Maybe you will have so much to say about your first idea that it fills the whole page. Or perhaps you will have a little bit to say about several different types of erosion. Somehow, you will fill the page.

If your mind feels empty of ideas, doodling, drawing, or even just scribbling, can open up your thoughts and gently draw your focus to the writing task . Then, when an idea comes, you’ll be ready to write it down.

When you have filled up the page, look back over your 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 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 any kind of writing project, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.