In the News

Found It!

by Nancy Casey

Sometimes “finding” first involves “losing” and “looking for.” Other times “finding” is a complete surprise, and neither “losing” nor “looking for” are part of the story at all. Today, write about what you have found today, this week, or sometime in your life.

Take a moment to set up your page before you begin writing. Use the time to turn your mind to the task you are about to do. Watch your pen draw a slow, careful line at the top of the page where your title will go. Choose a spot on your page that you can use for drawing or illustration, and draw a careful line around that area as well. Thicken the lines, or draw over them a couple of times, watching the ink flow out of the end of your pen, and settle yourself into the time you’ll spend writing.

As soon as an idea about finding comes into your mind, write down some details about it. Don’t make yourself wait for a perfect idea, just start writing about the one that comes to you first. If you think of another idea while writing about the first one, finish the first one up and write about the new one, too. If your idea-bank feels empty, doodle on the page, keep watching the ink roll out of tip of your pen and murmur to yourself, I found… I found… I found… An idea will eventually come to you.

Maybe you will write about how a lost item turned up again and tell that story in a few sentences.

You might end up writing about an experience of looking for an item that you’ve never had. That kind of “finding” has the feel of discovery to it. You might have a story of hunting for wildflowers in the woods, or searching in several grocery stores for a food that a recipe needs and you’ve never heard of. Maybe you’ve been in a strange town looking for a place to eat or sleep, in the library looking for a book, or in a store looking for the right shoes for a job interview. When your search ends successfully, you are happy to find something that was never lost.

Sometimes we find something without looking for it at all. A bracelet on the street, a trinket in the thrift store, a social media posting that changes the shape of our day.

Another kind of “finding” is “finding out.” Think of times when you found that you liked something more (or less) than you used to. Maybe you found a dreaded event to be not-so-bad. You can find yourself to be delighted or annoyed about something. You might find a meal to be too hot, too cold, or just right. Maybe you have a story about finding yourself in good company, in trouble, or absolutely right (or wrong) about something.

After you have filled the page with one or more “finding” stories, look back over your work. Make small changes or additions if you want to clarify something. Add illustration or decoration, too, 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 just one example of the type of thing 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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

Best and Favorite Habits

by Nancy Casey

Much of what we do every day is “out of habit.” Our “bad” habits get a lot of attention. We’re either trying to change them, or wish we didn’t have them, or keep remembering reasons why they aren’t good for us.

On the other hand, we hardly notice our good habits, because they don’t get in the way. Today, write about some of your best and favorite habits—what they are, how you got in to that habit (if you remember) and why you are glad you have that habit.

A habit is something you do without thinking about it first. So it might take a moment to answer when you ask yourself, “What are some of the things I do every day without thinking?” And then you have to narrow down those answers to the ones that you are glad that you do.

Try to get your mind moving in that direction as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top where your title will go. If a good-habit idea hasn’t come into your mind after that, start doodling or drawing somewhere on the page until one does. You might want to draw a box or blob to set aside some space for doodling or drawing later, too.

As soon as you remind yourself of one good habit that you have, start writing about it. Explain what the habit is and why doing this automatically is a good thing for you. How long have you had that habit? Do you recall how or when you “got into it?”

You can take yourself on a mental tour of your habits by thinking about everyday things: hygiene and housecleaning, food and drink, transportation, entertainment, relaxing, reacting to people, parts of your work day, sleep … What are some of thing things that you do all the time? Which of those are habits? Which of those are good things to do?

If you start to focus your mind on habits that are good, the annoying part of your brain might remind you that you aren’t perfect and tell you your habit isn’t all that great, or start preaching about a related not-so-good habit that you have. If that happens to you, don’t write any of that stuff down. Just remind your brain that you are only writing about good habits now and there will be plenty time to get to those other things about habits later. Maybe doodling will help your mind stay in the good-habit groove while you are thinking.

When the page is filled up, look over your work. Pause to 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 just one example of the type of thing 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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

A Strange and Useful Word

by Nancy Casey

The word if. We say it all the time. When we do, we are experimenting with an idea that isn’t quite real. Although dwelling constantly in a state of unreality is never recommended, a bit of if-thinking about what’s not real can give us insight into what is real.

Sometimes we say if to speculate about the future and perhaps express our hopes or concerns. If it rains tomorrow… If everything goes as planned… If I can’t sleep tonight… In cases like that, the word if allows us to make plans and consider alternatives.

We can use if to contemplate the impossible.  If I had enough money… If I was on vacation now… If it was summer and not winter… Using if in this way gives us a chance to imagine the world the way we wish it was. This kind of thinking can often help us clarify what we want.

If can also be a word that allows us to contemplate our regrets, to look at the past and wish it was different. If my friend was still alive… If I had done better on that test… If I had remembered my keys… We are advised not to wallow in this kind of if, but these types of statements help us express grief and understand problems.

Sometimes we look at the past with relief, not regret. If helps us do that, too. If that car had hit me… If I hadn’t found a job… If I hadn’t arrived on time… In cases like that, if  helps us appreciate our good fortune.

Today, in your writing, use the word if as much as you can. Before you begin writing, draw a line at the top of your page where your title will go. Set aside some space for illustration or doodling if you like.

Get your writing started, by putting down the word If, and continue on with whatever pops into your mind next. Explain it as much as your care to, and then continue and write another statement that begins with If. If you find yourself making a long explanation of an ifideamaybe you can insert an if-statement into the explanation of the if-statement that you started with.

Don’t worry too much about reality or organization. Instead, as you write the page, try to use the word if as many times as you can.

When your page has filled up, look back over your work. Pause to 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 just one 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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

Wash It Away!

by Nancy Casey

The water in a river washes away enough dirt and rock to carve out the likes of the Grand Canyon. The water from a showerhead can wash away hours—or days—of personal grime and maybe worries and cares as well. A surprise summer rain can wash away particles of dust and smoke and turn the air clear and sweet. A good long sleep can wash away mountains of stress and fatigue.

Let your writing for today open your mind to imagining the miracle of washing-away.

What do you think would be fun to wash out of your life and understanding? Think about that as you set up your page: a line across the top where your title will go and, optionally, a box, blob, or other sort of space set aside for illustration.

Consider the dirt and clutter of your surroundings. How could a selective waterfall transform them to your liking? Think about the pollutants and microbes that could be carried off in a sudden, possibly soapy, shower. How would the wider world—a car, a building, a town, a country—benefit from the woosh! of a good washing-away?

Are there thoughts and memories you’d like to have washed from your mind? Or events that you’d like to see loosened up and floated out of history?

Begin writing without overthinking it. As soon as your mind lights on a good candidate for being washed away. Write it down. Say a little bit about it. Say even more if you like. Maybe you’ll fill the whole page writing about that single thing—what it is, what it would look like as it is washed away, where it will go, what the world will be like when it has disappeared.

It could turn out that so many possible candidates for washing-away pop into your mind, that your page will fill up and seem more like a list. Or it could turn out to be a string of phrases and sentences, all describing what you would love to see swirling around, then disappearing down the drain at the center of the universe.

If you wanted to, you could even organize your writing in the form of a spiral, circling round and round on the page, so that all the ideas in your writing tumble towards a point at the center.

Somehow your page will fill up. When it does, look back over your work. Pause to 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 just one example of a page that 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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

Don’t Want To!

by Nancy Casey

A major part of adulting, it seems, involves a whole lot of doing things that you don’t want to do. Being disciplined. Being a good sport. Doing it whether you want to or not. Often because if you don’t do it, no one else will—and it has to get done.

Today, fill a page by writing about things you did even though you didn’t want to.

Set up your page with a line across the top where your title will go. You can also draw a box or blob that you’ll use for illustration.

As you do the page setup, open your mind to the recent past. Consider your daily habits. What did you do that you didn’t feel like doing at the time?

Think about the kinds of tasks you dread. And do anyway. When do you motivate yourself only because you have no choice? Do you have un-favorite parts of your job? What do you procrastinate? Are there aspects of your personal maintenance routine that you’d just as soon skip, but can’t?

Did you halt some words before they left your lips? Did you choose to not-engage in a habit that you are trying to kick?

Have you upended a plan so that you could give attention to the needs of a friend, a family member or a stranger? Did you disturb your sleep? Give up an outing? Get behind on a project? Drive somewhere? Get hot, get cold, get tired, find patience?

Life would be a cake-walk if we only had to do the things that we felt like doing. Sometimes people have to direct themselves to do what’s necessary instead of what they want in that moment. Fill a page with ideas about times that has happened to you.

Add drawing, illustration or color to your page in any way that you like.

When the page is full, read it over. Does it sound like complaining? Can you add or change a few words so it sounds more like congratulations? Maybe you can do that with the title you choose.

Whatever 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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

A Pleasant Surprise

by Nancy Casey

We make plans. We have expectations. Life happens, and things don’t pan out the way we thought they would. Because they turned out even better. Or some good thing we couldn’t have imagined occurred. Pleasant surprises. Whoopee! Today, write about one or more of them that you have experienced in your life.

Think about unexpected good things that have fallen into your lap as you set up your page. Draw a line across the top where your title will go. You can also draw a box or blob that you’ll use for illustration.

Have you ever dreaded an event or an encounter only to have it turn into a delightful experience? How about starting a task that you knew would be difficult, if not impossible, and then discovering that it was easy, a piece of cake? What about losing something very important only to have it turn up in the very first place you look?

If you are a bit forgetful, you can pleasantly surprise yourself in hilarious ways. Have you ever completed a task, forgot you did it, then experienced the surprise of having it already done when you set out to do it?

Strangers, friends, and loved ones can surprise us unexpectedly with kindness. Have you ever come up short in a check-out line and had the stranger behind you slap a couple dollars on the counter? Have you ever received a card, a gift, or a message from someone for no reason other than that they are glad that you exist? When have you received unexpected but very useful help?

Consider all those different moments when you saw the future as difficult or glum, and then—through no fault or effort of your own—something happy or heart-warming occurred.

Begin writing about the first pleasant surprise that comes to your mind. If there is still room on the page, write about another one. And another one, if it will fit. Until the page is full.

If nothing comes to mind at first, begin by scribbling or drawing. That can help your mind relax so you can think more clearly. When the memory of some pleasant surprise does pop into your awareness, write about it and see where it takes you. One idea usually leads to another one. If your ideas don’t flow easily, go back to doodling and wait patiently for them to come.

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 completely 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.

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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, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.