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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Write for You: Thursday Evening Writing Classes Start Soon!

by Nancy Casey

Two new classes related to writing and speaking will be starting in the month of May at the Latah Recovery Community Center. Like all classes and activities at the LRCC, they are free and open to anyone. If you have been curious about the Center, attending a free class is a good way to learn a bit more about what happens at the Center and how you can contribute.

Write For You

  • 5:00-6:30 PM, every Thursday starting May 16.
  • Anyone can drop into this class on any Thursday.
  • “Writing” means different things to different people. One goal of the class is for everyone to learn how writing can be useful and fun for themselves personally. We will experiment with lots of different kinds of writing. So you can decide what you think.
  • The focus of the class will be on writing one page at a time. One page, and then you are done. (Until you write another!)
  • To write these pages, we will follow exercises like the ones in the LRCC’s weekly Write For You writing prompts.
  • There will be homework. It’s optional. (Some people want to write more than others.)

Stand Up!

  • 6:30-8:00 PM, 3rd and 4th Thursdays of the month, starting May 23.
  • This is a closed group. You must attend at least one Write For You class and get permission to attend.
  • We will practice different techniques for talking in front of an audience.
  • For some people this is easy and for other it is the worst thing in the world. We can all help and encourage each other.
  • We will also practice techniques for being a good audience.
  • This class will also help you speak up in any situation where you are anxious.

Writing Certificates

  • If you jump through certain hoops, you can earn a Writing Certificate.
  • One of those hoops is to attend 12 Write For You classes. To learn more, come to class or contact Nancy.

The Default Page

  • One of the things we will cover in the first Write For You class is the Default Page. That’s the page that you can always write, no matter what.
  • Sometimes you feel stuck or frozen. You are willing to write, but for some reason can’t. You might even know what you want to write about and still can’t get started. That’s when you write the Default Page.
  • To write the Default Page, describe what’s in front of you, whatever it is, no matter how boring it is, even if you sat in the same chair and wrote the Default Page yesterday.
  • For the Default Page, write down what you see or smell or hear. Comment on it, or not. There is always something in front of you, write down what it is. Sooner or later you will have written a page. Then you are done.
  • Today in your writing, write a Default Page. Doodle on it, too. Give it a title and write the date on it.

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 offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories, novels, homework, etc. Her Thursday writing classes at the Recovery Center will start May 16 at 5:00 PM. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: Contradictory Creatures

by Nancy Casey

If life held no contradictions, then words like problem, difficulty or overcome wouldn’t be in the dictionary. Contradictions do abound, however, and probably always will. Today in your writing, you will celebrate contradictions.

Begin with two lines of notes. Across the first line, write down words for friendly little creatures. Ones that you like. Maybe they are cuddly. The kind of creatures that might make good imaginary friends. You’ll have room for a half dozen or so.

On the second line, write down words that describe awful qualities that people can have. Think about things that you don’t like about yourself or other people. Think about things you aren’t supposed to say about yourself or other people. They don’t necessarily have to be terrible, as long as they have negative connotations. (Grumpy…Insensitive…Lazy…Controlling…Messy…) A half-dozen or so should fit on the line.

Next, invent a creature whose name has two words, one from each list. The name might be something like Naughty Bunny, Sullen Pollywog or Clumsy Chickadee.

The name will always be contradictory because one part is pleasant and friendly part and the other is rather crummy. If you think the name is funny, you’ll have fun imagining more about the creature..

Write about the creature with the contradictory name that you just invented. What kinds of things do they do? What kinds of problems and difficulties do they cause?

If you get tired of writing about one creature, you can invent another one by combining different words from your list and write about that one two.

If you want, you can write a story that has several of these creatures wreaking chaos wherever they go. In their friendly way, they can’t seem to help it.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Change or add information. Add decoration and color to the page however you would like. 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. Add even more decoration and color to the page if you would like. 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.


Would you like to do exercises like this in a class setting? Summer writing groups and classes will start May 16 at the Recovery Center. You can come just for fun, enjoy the company, and, if you choose, share your work. If you jump through some hoops you can earn a Writing Certificate. Classes will meet Thursday evenings at 5pm. Here is all the information. If you have been curious about the Recovery Center, this is a good opportunity to see more of what it’s about. The classes are free and open to all.


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. She will be teaching writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings, starting May 16. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community
Center
.

Write for You: Sometimes the Sky is Red

by Nancy Casey

Today, when you write your page, begin with the sentence, “Sometimes the sky is red.” Continue writing 4-6 more lines. How you “continue” is up to you.

Maybe that little thought about a red sky will spark a memory or call an image to mind. Maybe it causes you to imagine or invent a story. Maybe it will make you want to explain something. Writing that tells a story or explains something can be called narrative or literal.

After you write that the sky is red sometimes, you don’t have to continue in a narrative or literal manner. You can use wordplay instead. With wordplay, you don’t pay much attention to “making sense” and instead just fool around with the way words sound. You can repeat words as you write, make rhymes, repeat certain letters, or make up words. When you put wordplay into your writing, it’s often fun to read out loud.

However you continue after the sentence about the red sky, pause after you have written 4-6 lines. Reread your work. Pick out a sentence or a phrase that you like. (4-6 words long.) Skip a line and copy it down. That’s your new beginning. Continue (narratively, literally, or with wordplay) for 4-6 more lines. Then pause, reread and pick out a new sentence or phrase, skip a line, copy it and continue…

Work your way down the page this way–write a chunk, pluck a phrase, use it to start a new chunk. Stop when there is just enough room to write one more line at the bottom. On that line write, “Sometimes the sky is red.” Then read back over your work.

Finally, think up a title. But don’t use the words sometimes, sky or red in your title. Drawing or doodling on the page often helps you come up with a title you like. What you have written might be disjointed. It might seem like it’s not “about” anything. After a bit of fooling around with a relaxed mind, a title that somehow connects it all up might pop into your head.

Add more decoration and color to the page if you would like. Make sure the date is on the page 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.


NEWS FLASH! Summer writing groups and classes will start May 16. You can come just for fun. Or you can jump through all the hoops and earn a Writing Certificate. Classes will meet Thursday evenings. Here is all the information.


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. She will be teaching writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings, starting May 16. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: The Summer Ahead

by Nancy Casey

When a cold wet spring rides into town on the heels of a long snowy winter, the whole idea of summer can seem really far away.

Imagine summer for a moment. How air on your skin can make you warm instead of making you shiver. The long evenings with heat radiating up from the sidewalk. People’s yards, bursting with shrubbery and flowers.

Once the summer is actually upon us, plans, obligations and routines put limitations on our time and energy. While the season is still mostly imaginary, anything can happen. Or might.

Today, write about what the summer might bring. Begin with the phrase, “Summer might bring _______.” Write about some of the different things that could happen this summer. If you feel stuck, write out the phrase, “Summer might bring ______.” That might bring you an idea. You can also draw or doodle on the page and wait for ideas to come to you that way.

The nice thing about the word “might” is that it allows you to think freely and gently about the future.

You might already have some plans, perhaps a lot of them. Plans can go awry. Life is always intervening in one thing or another. If you use the word “might” when you write about your plans, you’ll put a little less pressure on your future self.

If you use the word “might” to write about all your hopes and dreams and aspirations, you don’t have to worry about being greedy and putting in too many. You can ignore the reality that every possible good thing that can happen to you isn’t going to fit in one summer. Even though lot of them might.

The word “might” also comes in handy for discussing miracles. Are there things that one part of your mind says are impossible, while another part of you thinks they would be a good idea anyway? They might happen.

Another thing you can do with the word “might” is worry. When you start to think about what might happen, your mind doesn’t limit itself to events that are joyous. Dreadful things can float into the imagination, too. Fortunately the word “might” always walks with its friend “might not.” When you reread the page, you can squeeze in the word “not” anyplace you like.

Launch yourself into the summer in your writing today. All of its ups and downs, thrills and challenges.

What might the summer bring? More than you can imagine.

When you have filled a page, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add further decoration and color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. 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 offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories, novels, homework, etc. She will be offering writing classes at the Recovery Center starting the second week in May. Email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

Write for You: The First Chapter…

by Nancy Casey

I stopped by the Latah Recovery Community Center the other day, to ask around about what people might be looking for in a writing class. Someone told me that the best writing class they took that had fun assignments like, “Write the first chapter of a story using only words that are one syllable long.”

“How totally cool.” I thought. “I should try that.”

And so should you!

You don’t necessarily have to write the first chapter of a story, but you can. You might decide instead to write about an event or an experience, something you remember, or something that you invent.

Write a page about anything at all, as long as you only use one-syllable words.

If you have trouble deciding what to write about, just begin in the immediate present and describe what’s in front of you. Then go where your imagination carries you—around the room or all over the universe.

This can seem impossible at first. How are you supposed to write about what’s in front of you if you look out the window and see a shovel in the garden? You can’t write window, shovel, or garden! But you can write the clear glass in the wall. You can write the thing I dig with. You can write the place where the plants grow.

You get the idea (or rather, the thought.)

When you have filled a page, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add further decoration and color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write. There, you can also see an example of a page written with only two-syllable words.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. 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 offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories, novels, homework, etc. She will be teaching writing classes at the Recovery Center starting in May. Email Nancy or the Recovery Center for more information or to make a suggestion about the type of class to offer.