In the News

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.