Ah, Chores…

by Nancy Casey

Chores are jobs that we do for ourselves. Sometimes little, sometimes big. Sometimes we like them and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we dread them, but we usually like it when they are done. Today, write about one or more of the chores that you do.

Get started by thinking about all the work that gets done by you on your own behalf. Indoor chores and outdoor ones. Seasonal chores, like shoveling snow or weeding a garden. Washing-and-cleaning chores: clothes, fingernails, furniture, the floor.

Morning chores. Evening chores. Chores for special occasions.

What jobs do you do for yourself because you know that nobody is going to magically appear and do them for you?

Maybe you do chores on behalf of others. If you live with other people, you might have agreements about chores. If you have children, one of your chores might be to teach them how to do their chores.

As you reflect on all the different things you have to say about chores, set up your page. 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. Set aside some space for drawing or doodling if you like.

If you can’t decide what to write, begin by scribbling or drawing. That can help your mind relax so you can think more clearly. When a thought about chores pops into your mind, write it down and see where it takes you. Don’t be too fussy about how you start. One idea usually leads to another one.

You can explain what the chore is, how you do it, why it’s important, whether you like to do it or not–whatever comes to mind.

When you feel like you’ve written enough, stop. If there’s still room on the page, fill it with drawing or decoration.

When the page is full, look it over carefully and make small changes if you like. When a title idea floats to the surface of your mind, write it 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. If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Arriving Home

by Nancy Casey

What is “home”? What does it mean to “arrive” there? How do you do that and what does it feel like?” There are only about a zillion different ways to answer these questions, so take a moment to consider how they could apply to you.

Set up your page in the usual way: Draw a line across the top where you can write the title on it when you are finished. Draw a border you can decorate, or set aside some other kind of space for doodling or drawing if you like.

For some people, “home” refers to a physical place with doors and a roof. For others it’s a certain spot in their living space: where they sleep, what they like to look at. Or maybe it’s something to hear. Home isn’t always defined by one’s living space, though. What is it that “puts you right at home?”

People also refer to “home” as a state of mind, a type of attitude or sense of ease. What does it mean to be “at home in your own skin?” Are there things that someone else can do that make you “feel right at home?”

“Arriving home” is often a moment. Or maybe it’s a process. It has something to do with changing from a person who is not at home into a person who is. Sometimes what it’s like to “arrive home” depends a lot on where you have been.

Maybe “arriving” involves coming through a door or getting out of a car. Maybe it’s all about cooking something or sitting somewhere. Perhaps it comes along with the presence of someone else—a person or a pet. Maybe it happens entirely in your mind. “Arriving home” can be something you do or something you observe. It’s the thing that makes someone say to themselves, “Ah, I’m here.”

Begin by letting your mind roam over the many meanings of “home.” Without thinking about it too hard, pick one and start describing it. Explain where it is and how you can tell when you get there.

You might find yourself writing about specific details of a physical place. Or your ideas could center on memories, imagination or feelings. Lots of people switch back and forth.

When you have filled the page, look back carefully over your work. Make small changes if you need to. Doodle around some more with the decorative aspects if you like. A title often pops into people’s mind as they look back over the whole thing.

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. If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Summer’s Moment

by Nancy Casey

If you live in the northern hemisphere, the long passage through fall, winter and spring can make you completely forget the way the summer feels. Then there comes a moment, usually in May or June, when it hits you: Summer! This is the way that summer feels.

Today in your writing, describe a moment when the reality of the summer hits you, when summer stops being an idea and becomes the season you are living in.

As you gather your writing materials and set up your page take note of the season. Draw a line at the top where your title will go and set off some space for illustration. As yourself, Is it summer yet? How can I tell?

For some people, the signal for summer is in the temperature. Whether you like it or not it’s hot out! But with air conditioning, some people experience it as a season of cold.

Sunburn, allergies, bug bites, dehydration, bear attacks–maybe summer feels like a harrowing and dangerous season to you.

A person’s employment picture often changes in summer–new hours, new co-workers, new tasks, a period of unemployment or a brand new job. Summer sometimes makes a person’s job satisfaction rise or fall.

From crickets to songbirds, summer brings a raft of new natural sounds. Open a window and you might hear the sounds of human voices and lawn mowers. The outdoors smells different–and maybe the indoors, too. People-watching might return as a forgotten fascination.

A household might have a new organization for summer, too. Warm clothes and bedding might get packed away. Maybe lawn furniture emerges. Perhaps new cooking habits are in order. Maybe there’s different stuff stacked by the door.

Are there places that you only go in summer? Are you more likely to linger on the street, drive with your windows down, or ride a skateboard? Does summer draw you to mountains, water, sun or shade?

What kind of detail in your inner or outer world announces to you that it is summer?

Today, write about one or more of these signals that summer has come. Begin with an event or a moment. You could start with something like, “When…, it really hit me that summer is here.”Or your first sentence could be something like, “It felt like summer all of a sudden when…” 

Let your writing flow with the thoughts that come into your mind as you rifle through your observations and memories of that wow-it’s-summer feeling.

When you stop to think, draw or doodle on the page. Ideas come to some people when they draw. Other people get new ideas while staring into space–or the backs of their eyelids. Do what works best for you.

When the page is full, draw on it a bit if you like. Think up a title and write it at the top of the page. Write the date and a signature on the page also.

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 some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Questions Upon Questions

by Nancy Casey

To begin today’s writing, you must come up with a question that you don’t know the answer to. That shouldn’t be hard. There are an infinite number of them, maybe even more.

Set up your page by drawing a line at the top of the page where the title will go so don’t have to ask yourself, “Where the heck do I put the title?” after your page is all filled up.

You can add a border to the page if you like, or set off a space where you can draw and doodle while you think up what to write next.

Write down a question—one question, a question that you don’t know the answer to.

Choose one word from your question and write down another question that has that word in it. Again, it must be a question you don’t know the answer to.

After that, pick a word from the new question and use it to think up another question.

Keep going down the page like that. Always ask questions that you don’t know the answer to. Always use a word from the previous question in the next question that you ask.

Help your mind shift over to question mode by thinking about all the different words you can use to frame a question. The ones that begin with W, for instance: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

There is a whole family of questions that begin with How: How much? How many? How big? How full? How on earth? How come?

There aren’t any special words for starting out yes-or-no questions, but many of them begin with one of these: Isn’t…? Should…? Will…? Aren’t…? Did…? May I…?

Whole families of questions spring up from the word if. If something does or doesn’t happen, what will or won’t happen next?

Let your mind wander through your personal version of the vast unknown. There’s no danger of running out of questions. Even though the questions will be linked together by the word that they share, you might surprise yourself by how many different subjects you have questions about. Or it could turn out that the surprise will be that you can ask so many questions about one subject.

Eventually your page will fill up. When it does, take a careful look at what you have written and make small changes if you like. Add some illustration if you feel like it. Think up a title and write it at the top of the page, along with your signature and the date.

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 your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Where’s the Fire?

by Nancy Casey

What comes to mind when you hear the word fire? Someone striking a match? Losing a job? Discharging a weapon?

When you plug in a coffee maker, what kind of fire heats the water? Where’s the fire that can make your phone hot to the touch? What kind of fire burns the back of your legs when you hop into a hot car on a summer day?

What do people mean when they talk about the fire in somebody’s eyes? Is there a flame somewhere if a person is burning up with fever? What is someone like when they are all fired up?

How many songs can you think of that have the word fire in the lyrics?

Fire makes its way into many metaphors and images that we use to describe other things. A firey personality, for example. Or when someone complains of spending the whole day putting out fires. What kind of burn might you get if someone accuses you of playing with fire?

Write a page today that begins with the notion of fire.

You can consider the literal ones, such as campfires, forest fires, candles, or the flame that comes out of the back end of a rocket.

You might consider the techno-fires that provide the energy for powering engines and electronics.

Maybe you will recall a time that something significant to you burned up. (What kind of fire burns a bridge?)

Perhaps you will decide to write about something that fire represents.

As you gather your materials for writing, cast about your imagination and experience until you locate a fire or two.

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.

Begin writing by describing a fire. Perhaps you will fill the whole page with a single fire, or maybe you will end up writing about several.

If you get stuck, doodle or draw on the page to encourage your mind to relax and think more clearly. Or illustrate your page after you have finished writing and wait for a good title idea to float to the surface of your mind.

Write your title at the top of the page. Write the date on the page too, along with a signature or your initials.

Whatever you do, don’t burn your work!

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 your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Round

by Nancy Casey

The world is round. So are many of the things in it. Write about some of them today.

To think about roundness, begin with your senses. What round things can you see, touch, hear, smell or taste? Consider the roundness all around you as you set up your page. How can you tell if something is round?

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. If you don’t feel relaxed and ready to write, doodle or draw on the page and allow your mind to slow down and open up.

So many round things! Some, such as Frisbees and plates are round and flat. Others, such as softballs and peas are round, no matter how you move them about. A carrot is round in a different way. So is a baseball bat. Some objects that are not round—a car engine, for example—have many parts inside them that are round.

Intangible things can be round, too. Some thoughts and ideas keep “coming back around.” Can something act round? Or seem round?

We say that “what goes around comes around.” What goes? What comes? And what is it going and coming around?

As soon as a thought about something round enters your mind, write it down. Don’t pressure yourself to write something witty or brilliant, just write something. The wit and the brilliance will sneak up on you when you quit demanding it.

As your writing gets going, see where it takes you. Maybe it will turn into a catalog of round things. Partway down the page, it might turn into a story. Perhaps you will find yourself getting philosophical about what “roundness” is—or isn’t.

When your page gets full, go back over your work carefully. Squeeze in any additions or corrections that you think it needs. Add some color or illustration if there is empty space that needs to be filled in. See if a title will float to the surface of your mind.

If you can’t think of a title, here’s a trick: Write a really bad title in tiny letters at the top of the page. Sometimes that will make the part of you that second-guesses yourself provide a better one in a flash. If it does, write it in bigger letters above the first one.

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. If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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.