The Story of a Shoe (or Two)

by Nancy Casey

How many shoes do you suppose have stepped through your life?

Walking shoes, running shoes, traveling shoes, crying shoes.

Sneakers, slippers, sandals, flip-flops, work boots.

Fashionable and unfashionable shoes. The shoes that hurt your feet and the ones that don’t. Shoes you don’t like. Shoes you covet.

Today, begin with a shoe—or two. Fill a page with story from your life that has at least one shoe in it. It can be a story that reflects true events, or one that comes from your imagination. Or some combination of the two.

You can consider a shoe worn by you, or by anyone. Or even a shoe (or two) that nobody has worn.

You could even write about a brake shoe if that’s the story that pops into your mind.

Maybe you will want to tell the story from the point of view of the shoe.

Begin with a shoe (and possibly its mate) and tell the story. If the story is pretty short and there is still room on the page, tell another story. About that same shoe, or a different one. Or instead of additional stories, you could fill the remainder of the page with drawing.

Drawing or doodling on the page can help your mind relax and think more clearly. You don’t have to write down everything you think of while you were drawing. The drawing itself—no matter what it “looks like”—will stand in for all the thoughts you had while you made it. Regardless of what (or how) you draw, your mind will be a bit clearer for having done it.

When the page is full, look it over slowly. Leave a corner of your mind empty and ask yourself what the title should be. See what kind of title pops into that empty space.

Write your title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Starting With a Tree

by Nancy Casey

Trees. Those “one legged” living things that can subsist on water and sunshine for hundreds of years. The more you learn about them, the more amazing they are. They exhale oxygen and are home to zillions of living things. They give us food and shade. Some of them are poisonous.

Today, write (and illustrate?) a page that begins with the idea of a tree.

Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go so you are certain to have a place to put it when you have finished writing. Then pause for a moment and let the idea “tree” settle into your mind.

You can begin with one specific tree in front of you. Or an object which started out as some part of a tree. You could decide to begin with a memory of a tree, or the idea of a tree that you construct in your imagination. Maybe you know some interesting information about trees and will start there.

Once you begin, keep your writing hand moving while your mind relaxes into thoughts that start with a tree.

You could tell a story from your life that has a tree in it. Or several of them. Or make a list of the titles of stories with trees in them that you could tell if you had all the time in the world.

You could decide to make and comment on a list of all the ideas that pop into your head after you start thinking about trees. They could be about trees in general, trees you have observed, how to make something out of a tree (or wood), or how to care for a tree.

You can organize the tree-thoughts that come into your mind alphabetically if you choose.

Drawing or doodling on the page can help your mind relax and think more clearly. Try that if you aren’t sure what to write about. Or illustrate your page after you have finished writing, staying open to a good idea for a title that might float to the surface of your mind while you draw.

Write your title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

What Would Rumpelstiltskin Do?

by Nancy Casey

Do you know the tale of Rumpelstiltskin? It’s the one where the heroine is locked up in a barn and, under pain of death, must spin a pile of straw into gold overnight. Rumpelstiltskin appears and does it for her while she sleeps. There are a few plot twists and some scary consequences for accepting this gift, but ignore those for the moment and ask yourself this question:

If Rumpelstiltskin popped into my life some evening, what miracles would I want him to accomplish by morning?

Do you have a pile of straw that you wish could be turned into gold?

Consider all those onerous tasks that you procrastinate.

Perhaps you dream of a big change in your life or circumstances that feels impossible right now. Or ever.

Maybe you want something that others would call frivolous and unnecessary. Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t judge–ask away!

You aren’t limited to asking for yourself. Maybe you would like to orchestrate something new for someone that you know.

You can even look to the big wide world and invite the Rumpelstiltskin character to alter it in some way.

Let your daydreaming mind wander and see if it can find changes that you dream about even though they feel impossible from where you are now. What magic and miracles would you have Rumpelstiltskin perform for you?

Unfortunately, Rumpelstiltskin also extracts huge payments for his services. You can ignore that part of the story for now. Even if Rumpelstiltskin were real, he can’t make you pay for giving him a list! What would you have him do for you?

Daydream about these things as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go. Set aside some space for illustration. Or make a frame around the edges of the whole page and you can fill with decoration.

Wander through your favorite dreams. Imagine a scenario where, before you go to sleep tonight, Rumpelstiltskin will appear and offer to do everything on your list while you sleep. What will you find in the morning?

When you have finished the page, read over what you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write your title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Where is the Air?

by Nancy Casey

You can get by without a lot of things, but air is not one of them. Fortunately, there’s air just about everywhere a person is likely to go. There are also ways to carry air with you if you happen to be going somewhere like outer space or the bottom of the sea. Without it, you couldn’t go there—or if you did, you couldn’t stay very long.

Yet air can be hard to notice. You don’t even have to pay attention to it to breathe.

Today in your writing, describe some of the ways that you perceive air.

Set up your page by marking off a space for a title and space for an illustration. As you do so, ask yourself how air could possibly figure in to doing that.

Consider each of your senses. What do your eyes, ears and nose tell you about air? Can you taste it? What are some of the ways that you can feel air on your skin? What does air do in a storm?

Sometimes we notice air because of the way it changes things around. What moves on a windy day? What happens when you put your face in front of a fan? What are some of the other signs of moving air?

Many things can be carried to you on the air. Some of them are pleasant and some are downright harmful. What has air brought to you lately? Did it float in or arrive in a blast?

There are many machines that don’t work without air. A vacuum cleaner, for instance, or a car engine. Why do some machines have fans in them?

What is the relationship between air and fire? Wind can whip up flames and make a fire grow, yet it can also blow a candle out. Why is that?

Fill up a page today by telling a story from your life—or several different stories—that have something to do with air.

When you have finished the page, read over what you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Lots and Lots

by Nancy Casey

Abundance. Multitudes. Much. Many.

What is there lots and lots of?

Think about that as you set up your page: draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go. Set aside some space for illustration.

Today, write about something—or many things—that are abundant in your world. You can consider your own life and memory, what you can observe right in front of you, or some ideas about the world at large.

Consider your own immediate surroundings. What sorts of material things do you collect? Do you collect them by accident or on purpose? What collects around you whether you like it or not?

When you go out, what do you notice everywhere? As the season changes, does anything new appear in large quantities?

Consider your interior landscape. Are there types of thoughts that return again and again? Certain kinds of images that parade frequently across the movie screen of your mind?

You can frame scarcity in terms of abundance by describing your many wishes to have something that you don’t.

Sometimes abundance can bubble over and become a problem of “too much.” Too much of a good thing. Too much of a bad thing. Or maybe just too many things to think about.

When you notice something (in your surroundings or in your thoughts) that there is lots and lots of, start writing about it. Tell what it is and where it can be found. Make other comments if you like. You can describe it in detail, explain its history or purpose, comment on its value, or imagine the world without it.

You could find that you have so much to say about one single thing that is abundant that it fills the whole page. Or you might end up writing a page that includes many different observations about what is abundant in your world.

However it turns out, read over what you have written when the page is full. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Got Numbers?

by Nancy Casey

If you look deep inside any living thing, you aren’t going to find any numbers. Nobody has ever coughed up an actual 7, 16, or 56. Or pi. You can’t dig numbers out of the ground, or pull them from the sky, either.

Yet we have zillions of numbers associated with our lives. While you gather your writing materials and set up your page, think about all the different numbers that you know about. Draw a line at the top where the title will go and set aside some room for artwork if you like.

Much information comes to us as numbers. The percentages of people who hold certain opinions. The cost of a trip to a grocery store or gas station. Dates from the calendar and the time on a clock. The weight and the girth of the planet.

We have incomes and bank balances, debts, too. We keep certain numbers private, lest someone use them to steal our identity. A trip to the doctor’s office might unleash a whole slew of numbers: height and weight for sure, and maybe some lab results or instructions to go with a prescription.

All around you there are things you can count: fingers on your hand, spoons in the drawer, pages in a book, windows in a house, cracks in the sidewalk, miles to your destination.

Do you have a lucky number? A favorite one?

Today in your writing describe some of the numbers that are interesting or useful to you. They can be numbers that you know about and use all of the time. Or numbers that you are curious about.

Here’s the catch: don’t write down any actual numbers.

Instead, use phrases like: I know how many…  or It would be hard to count… or even, Someone could look up… or It’s important to keep track of… 

You could ask yourself questions: How much…? How far…? How many days…?

Fill up a page today by writing about some of the numbers that swirl around you.

When you have finished the page, read over what you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not just yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Mind and Body

by Nancy Casey

Two things that everybody has: a mind and a body. Are they separate? How do you tell them apart?

Scientists and sages have pondered those questions for centuries, without agreeing on clear answers. As an owner of both a mind and a body, your writing today will give you a chance to explore the way you see the interplay between them.

The page setup is a bit elaborate. First, draw a line an inch or so from the right-hand margin, from the very top of the page to the very bottom. In the large space remaining, draw a line where your title will go. Beneath that line, write the word “Mind” on the left-hand side of the page and write “Body” on the right. Underline those two headings and beneath them, down the center of the page, write the letters of the alphabet, from A-Z.

Next to each letter, you will write words that begin with that letter. On the left-hand side of the page, write the names of things you can do with your mind. (Remembering, for example. Or forgetting.) On the right hand side of the page, write down the names of things you can do with your body. (Digesting breakfast is one possibility.)

You might come up with activities that you do with both your mind and your body. Talking would be a good example of that. In that case, you would write “talking” in both columns.

Try to come up with at least one mind activity and one body activity for every letter. If you think about it too hard, you might end up confusing yourself (just like scientists and sages have done for centuries!) Make decisions about what involves the mind and what involves the body based on your own experience. Decide for yourself where to draw an imaginary line between the two.

After you have written something for every letter, rotate the page sideways so the inch or so of empty space runs side-to-side. In that space, write down a comment about minds, bodies and the relationships between them–something that occurred to you while you were making those two lists.

When you have finished the page, read over everything you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not quite yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

When the Pandemic is Over

by Nancy Casey

It was about a year ago at this time that the reality of the coronavirus pandemic began to settle undeniably into our lives.

We have all been affected.

We have experienced changes in relationships and routines. People have lost loved ones and worried for people they care about. Support systems have been disrupted, incomes lost. People have had to give up hobbies and favorite entertainments.

And yet, we have grown. We have had new thoughts and experiences. We have coped and adapted, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not, but always getting new information about ourselves and the world.

By now, the pandemic has been going on for so long that it seems like it will never end. But it will. Someday, this whole pandemic that has engulfed our lives will be over. Finished. Done. History.

Write about what that will be like for you.

Set up a page by drawing a line where the title will go. Set aside some space for doodling or illustration. Try to imagine your future non-pandemic self, living in a non-pandemic world.

Begin by writing, “When the pandemic is over…”  Then follow up with whatever comes to mind as you imagine your non-pandemic future.

Today’s writing is a chance to celebrate in advance the reunions with people and places you have missed. Or maybe notice how the end of the pandemic doesn’t promise a return to the past.

Maybe you have ideas about how you will apply skills you developed this past year. Or perhaps you can think of skills that you haven’t used in all this time. Will you be rusty? Will you apply them in different ways? Will you be getting back to some old habits? Trying out some new ones?

For many people, the end of the pandemic will bring a new phase of recovering from the losses the pandemic has dealt.

All year we have been encouraged to dwell in the reality of this difficult time, to embrace what’s possible instead of longing for something different in a situation we are powerless to change.

Today, let loose and imagine what life will be like when the pandemic lives in the past tense.

Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? What does it shine on for you?

Fill a page with your thoughts. If you run out of ideas, write, “When the pandemic is over…”  to encourage an idea to pop into your head. Or you can draw and doodle as you wait for a new thought.

When you have filled up the page, read over what you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or some encouragement, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

For the Love of Gloves

by Nancy Casey

Surgeons wear them. So do boxers and astronauts. And probably you, too.

Good old gloves. Today, write about some of the gloves that have graced your life. You can tell what they are made of or what color they are. Maybe you remember where you got them. Perhaps they were present for an important moment. Maybe they even saved you from disaster.

Think about all the gloves you have known as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go. Set aside some space for illustration. (If you begin by tracing your hand, you can quickly draw a glove.)

Most gloves protect your hands from something. In the winter months you probably rely on them for protection from the cold. But a glove can also protect a hand from heat. Gloves can keep out microbes and dirt. Some people count on gloves to protect their hands from cleaning agents or other toxins.

When is a glove not a glove? Consider a mitten, for instance, or a fingerless glove. Maybe you remember a time when you needed gloves and couldn’t find them. What did you use instead?

Sometimes gloves don’t protect anything. They can also be used to hide something—unsightly age spots, chewed up nails, or fingerprints at a crime scene. Some gloves are strictly for fashion and instead of protecting you, you have to protect them.

Is there a certain kind of glove you wish you had? Is there a type of glove you would never wear even if you did have them?

If you lose one glove, what do you do with the other one?

Have you ever given or received gloves as a gift? Or stumbled on a pair of gloves you forgot about? Have you ever stolen a pair of gloves?

So many gloves! The more you look around and think about them, the more you can find.

If you never, ever wear gloves, there’s a story in that, too.

Fill up a page today by writing something about gloves.

When you have finished the page, read over what you have written. Illustrate your work if you haven’t already. Think up a title that ties everything together.

Write the title 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Pause and Relax

by Nancy Casey

There are lots of different exercises a person can do to relax. In some of them you consciously relax your body—from bottom to top, from inside to out. Some exercises focus on the breath—slowing it down, feeling it in your belly. Other exercises ask you to move with maximum awareness, slowly and deliberately. Do you have a favorite?

Today you will have a chance to see what it’s like when you combine writing and relaxing.

Put yourself into relax-mode as you settle in to write: pens ready, clean page. Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go. Can you draw that line with your hand and arm completely relaxed?

Next, draw 3 dots spaced evenly down the middle of the page. They will divide your page into four “imaginary” sections.

Breathe gently, and use your favorite method to enter your relaxation state. Then begin writing. Write about whatever is on your mind. That might be what you see or hear. It might be a plan, a worry, or a memory. Whatever floats through.

When you get to the first dot, put down your pen and look around. Lay your hands gently in front of you. Close your eyes and do a little something to relax your breath and body.

When you begin to feel relaxation, open your eyes slowly and continue writing. If your mind floated off to a new topic while you were relaxing, write about that. If you are more inclined to pick up where your writing left off, you can do that, too.

Can you stay inside of that relaxed feeling as you continue writing? How does a person do that?

Work your way down the page. Pause to relax each time you come to a dot. Start your writing back up however you like.

Consider drawing or doodling on the page as well. (Would that be part of writing or part of relaxing?)

When you have filled the page, pause and relax one more time.

Read over what you have written. Even if you changed the subject a lot, it’s still probably all connected somehow. Think up a title that hints at those connections.

Write the title 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. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.