Your Ground

by Nancy Casey

Get started by doodling on your page. Let the tip of your pen ramble around. Watch as it makes lines and curves. At the same time, let your mind doodle. Ask yourself how many different ways you can use the word ground.

Underground. Ground zero. Grounded. Ground coffee. The ground.

Before you begin to write, draw a line at the top of your page where you will put the title after you have finished writing. You can include this line as part of your doodling. Keep allowing yourself to mind-doodle, and you’ll notice more and more ways the word ground pops up in everyday converstion.

Hit the ground running. Stand your ground. Ground-breaking. From the ground up.

Then start writing. Write whatever you want. Try to use the word ground as much as you can.

If you want to, you can be playful and think more about how your writing sounds than what it means. Just let yourself write semi-ridiculous stuff that repeats the word ground over and over. It might not end up to be ridiculous.

You could slip in words that rhyme with ground and whatever your write would probably be more interesting.

You could write a true or made-up story about a person who lives on the ground floor of a building and cares about ground balls. Or grounds-keeping, ground rules, or ground glass. Perhaps you have a story to tell about a person sleeping on the ground.

Unless you are in outer space, the ground is all around you. If you are down in a mine, where is the ground? What’s on the floor around you? Is the floor the ground? You could write a long list of details about the ground around you, indoors or out.

Maybe you have something to say about ground water. Or groundnuts.

When you reach the bottom of the page, read everything over again and make small changes if you like. Add to your drawings and doodles, too. Maybe you want to use extra colors.

When you decide the page is completely finished, give it a title. Write the date somewhere on it, too.

Regardless of how you fill the page, you will probably feel more grounded afterwards than you did before you started.

Here is an example of what a person 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 to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Hats Everywhere

by Nancy Casey

A person usually doesn’t have to search very hard to find a hat. Or a person wearing a hat. Maybe you are wearing a hat. If you search your memory and imagination for hats, you will never run out of them.

Today, write something that has to do with hats.

You could write about hats you have worn throughout your life. You could write the life story of one single hat.

Are there hats you have loved or hated? Hats you have lost or found? Maybe you have an ex-favorite hat that you would never put on your head today.

Some people like to make hats. Some people never wear them.

If you twist a scarf around your head, is that a hat? Is the hood of a hoodie a hat? How about a bicycle helmet or flowers in your hair—would they count as hats? What’s the most creative or unusual hat that you know of?

What can a hat communicate about a person’s identity? When a hat is part of a uniform, for example, it tells you what to expect from the person who is wearing it. Hats can also signal a group identity or show the world what a person is interested in. Do you have hats that tell who you are? Do you have any hats that mean one thing to you and something else to other people?

Hats are just plain functional, too. They can keep a head warm, shade the eyes, or protect a bald spot from sunburn.

And of course, hats are fashionable.

Write something about a hat. Or many hats. Real or imaginary, remembered or forgotten. Draw on the page, too, if you want to.

When the page is full, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, contact the Latah Recovery Community Center and ask about writing groups and classes.

The Furniture

by Nancy Casey

Today, write about the furniture in your life. It could be furniture you are sitting on now, furniture from your past, or furniture that only exists in your imagination.

While your mind wanders among the many couches, tables, rugs and footstools you have known, set up a page for writing.

Draw a line at the top of the page to leave room to write a title later. Write the date on the page somewhere. Mark off a section of the page for drawing. You could draw some furniture, of course, but really you can draw anything at all.  If you can’t decide what to write about, draw and doodle for a bit first.

What can you say about furniture? Is the furniture you are thinking of comfortable? Borrowed? An Heirloom? Ugly?

You could write about how a piece of furniture came into your life and describe the history you have shared together.  Maybe someone likes this piece of furniture more than you do.

Furniture can require maintenance and repair. It can be found to have many different uses.

Was there furniture you were not allowed to sit on as a child? Do you have furniture that you won’t let children sit on?

One of the most grueling adventures a person can have is moving all their furniture from one living space to another.

Some people never rearrange their furniture. Others move things around often. Which type of person are you?

What is furniture anyway? Tables and chairs, for sure. Are curtains furniture? A bathtub? You can decide.

Begin by writing about one specific piece of furniture. If that doesn’t fill the whole page, write about a second one, and a third or fourth one, too.

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. Add drawings and decoration. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Where There Are People

by Nancy Casey

To accomplish your writing today, you must take yourself on a field trip to a place where there are people. Anywhere, as long as there is at least one person.

Such a field trip could be a walk down a busy street, a meal in a restaurant, a trip to the library, or an evening with friends or family. It could be an event or situation from a workplace, a gym, or a church. Take yourself to a place where you will find one or more people.

If it’s not possible to take yourself physically to such a place, you can go in your imagination instead. One way to do that is to remember things. Another way to do that is to make things up.

Once you are immersed in your field trip, begin writing down the details of the place and situation. Here is the catch: Don’t write anything about the people.

Suppose you are meeting a friend for lunch and you decide to make that outing count as your field trip. As you eat and visit with your friend, collect details that you can write down later. Notice how the food smells, the color of the plates, the pictures on the restaurant wall and the cars parked outside. These are the things you will write about. You won’t be writing anything about your companion, the server, or your fellow diners. Even if somebody’s baby screams through the whole meal, a baby is a person, so you can’t write about that.

If you travel in your imagination, take some time for the trip. As you recall an event or situation with people in it, often the details of the people are what pop into your mind first. Close your eyes and let other memories of the moment filter in. What was in the sky and on the ground? What objects were behind or in front of the people? Are there sounds and smells that you remember? Was there anything soft or rough to the touch?

You can make up some or all of the details that you decide to put in your description. You can try to make your made-up details seems absolutely convincing. Or you can make them entirely fanciful.

When you have filled a page, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. Perhaps you will add decoration or illustration. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

When the Rain Comes

by Nancy Casey

In times of drought, the natural world shrivels. Both plants and animals use every trick they know to prevent themselves from dying of thirst. Some seek shade, some are only active at night, others allow less essential parts of themselves to die and fall away.

And then it rains.

Here on the Palouse, the weather is turning. It has been hot and dusty for weeks. The wet season is arriving. For your writing today, notice the way everything under the sky changes as water becomes abundant again. Record some thoughts about that.

Perhaps it is raining right now. Where do the drops land? How do they change the colors, sounds, and smells around you? How do plants and animals react? What’s different about dirt and pavement? Is there anything different about you?

Sometimes the world is so dry that when it first rains, nothing seems to get wet.

When too much rain comes too fast at the end of a drought, floods and destruction can occur.

Sometimes rain can make things that seem dead come alive again.

Maybe it hasn’t rained yet, but rain is “in the air.” What does that mean? How can you tell?

Rain, or the promise of it, can send a person scurrying to bring in or cover up things that aren’t supposed to get wet. Forgotten things can get ruined because it’s hard to re-acquire habits of keeping things dry.

Going from drought to rain can bring changes in a person’s body and mind. Do you or anyone you know experience these changes?

The idea of rain after drought can also be a metaphor. A person can be thirsty for many things besides water—knowledge, friendship, travel, or relief from pain, just to name a few. What happens to a person when this kind of thirst is quenched or about to be quenched? Does anything come back to life? Might there be floods and destruction?

Fill a page with some ideas about rain after a drought. Perhaps you will write about the actual rain and drought. Maybe you will write about something that rain and drought remind you of. You can write about yourself, but you don’t have to. You could write from the point of view of a plant, an animal, or even a lawn chair.

Leave some space to draw or doodle on the page if you like. If you aren’t sure what to write, drawing and doodling can quiet your mind so ideas can spring up—like mushrooms after the rain!

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

 

Pick It Up and Put It Down

by Nancy Casey

You pick something up. Then you put it down somewhere else. How many times in a day do you do that?

That’s something you can think about in today’s writing.

Prepare your page in the usual way, with a line at the top where you will write a title. Set off some space for an illustration if you like. Drawing or doodling can help you think up what to write if you feel stuck. Making a drawing after you have finished writing is a relaxing way to think about what you wrote.

After your page is set up, begin writing about things you have picked up and put down somewhere else. Tell what you picked up, where it was, and where you put it down. You can also say why you did this or add any other information that seems relevant.

People pick up a lot of things in the course of their daily routines, from spoons and toothbrushes to brooms and keys. Parents of small children often pick up people. Some folks regularly pick up plants and pets. Some people only pick up things that belong to themselves.  Other people mostly pick up things that belong to others.

What have you picked up so far today? Where did you put it down? Have you picked up and put down anything interesting this week?

Did you pick up anything with the help of other people? Did they then help you put it down? Maybe someone else did the picking up and putting down for you at your request. Was anything like a glove, a machine, or some kind of tool involved?

Some things can be picked up, but it’s impossible to put them down. So they don’t count. You can pick up on an idea. You can pick up a bad case of the flu. You can even pick up a tune that sings itself over and over again in your head. There’s really no way to put things like these down. Is there?

Write about as many different instances of picking up and putting down as you can fit on the page.

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Escalating Troubles

by Nancy Casey

Situations can have a way of going from bad to worse, to even worse than that, and still end up with signs of optimism and hope. Today in your writing you will have a chance to imagine how that can happen.

Set up you page in the usual way, with a line where the title will go and a space for illustration or doodling. In addition, draw a faint line (or just put a couple of dots) about two inches from the bottom of the page. When you come to this mark, you will know it is time to change the subject.

Imagine somebody. An imaginary person. Don’t write about yourself or someone you know. Then you will be completely free to make things up.

Begin by writing down a moderately disappointing fact about the person. It could be something that happens to them, an idea they have, or the way that they feel.

Next, escalate. Use a phrase like, on top of that or if that’s not bad enough and add more information that makes the situation worse.

Escalate again, using an escalating phrase such as even worse, or to make matters more difficult or something similar.

Work your way down the page that way, escalating the imaginary person’s difficulties with each sentence. Use an escalating phrase each time. Try to think up a different escalating phrase each time you use one, but if you need to repeat one or two of them, that’s fine.

Continue, in your imagination, making your person’s life seem more and more difficult. You don’t have to dump murder and mayhem upon them (although you can.) You just have to make things happen that the person would probably rather have done without.

Stop writing when you get to the faint line that you marked near the bottom of the page. Add one more event to the imaginary person’s life. Don’t use any of the escalating phrases. Make this new event positive. It doesn’t have to be something that fixes everything that went wrong for the person. Just make one thing happen to them that will give them a bit of hope.

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title and write the date on it, too. Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.