In the News

Choosing and Choosing

by Nancy Casey

Sometimes we feel trapped, as if circumstances block us in every direction we are trying to move. Other times the perfect gift of what we need falls right out of the sky and onto our laps.

In the middle is the vast universe of the choices we make.

Today, write about some of those choices.

Big choices might spring to mind, especially the ones that took our lives in new directions. Sometimes we make these life-changing choices with great care and deliberation. Sometimes we make them without noticing and only recognize them in retrospect.

We make choices all the time, though. What to wear, where to sit, when to eat, whether your bed gets made. A habit is a choice that we make the same way again and again. Choices don’t always have to change things. If we could have done it differently, we made a choice.

In addition to making choices about what we do, we can make choices about what goes on inside ourselves. We can choose to have (or try to have) a certain attitude. We can choose from different interpretations of a story. We can choose to notice or appreciate something.

Right now, I hope you choose to write this page. As you gather your stuff and get started, ramble around in your life’s choices—the ones that you’ve made so far today, and the ones that got you to where you are.

Start with a clean sheet of paper. Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Mark off a space where you can doodle or draw if you like. Or you can draw and decorate a frame for the whole page.

Write down a few sentences about a choice that you made. Tell what it was and when you made it. Or how you made it, or what the consequences were.

After a few sentences on the first choice, switch to another one and write another couple of sentences. Continue down the page that way, choice after choice—big ones, tiny ones, and the ones in between. Until the page is full.

If you pause to think about what you are writing, keep your pen moving by drawing or doodling. The motion keeps you focused on the page. It slows your thoughts and helps you notice them better. As soon as an idea about a choice comes to you, start putting down some words about it.

When the page is full, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it 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.

Significant Vegetables

by Nancy Casey

If it isn’t an animal or a mineral, it’s a vegetable. If it means something to you, it is significant.

Today, write about one or more significant vegetables in your life.

The obvious vegetables are the eat-your-vegetables kind—carrots, lettuce, green beans, etc. There are other possibilities, too.

There is a whole world of growing things that count as vegetables. Outdoors there are trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. Indoors are houseplants that you grow on purpose and the mold you grow by accident.

Don’t overlook the things that are manufactured from vegetables—a basket made of reeds, clothing made of cotton, and all of the wood that is in your home and furniture. Sometimes pillows are stuffed with vegetable matter. Some plastics are made of cornstarch.

Once you start looking around, there are vegetables everywhere.

Choose one or more of the vegetables that has played a role in your life and write about them. You could tell about your history together or the purpose they fulfill. You could explain how they frustrate you or make you happy. You could simply describe what they look like.

While you decide which vegetable to write about first, set up your page. Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Mark off a space where you can doodle or draw if you like. Or you can draw and decorate a frame around the whole page.

If you still haven’t decided what to write about, get your pen started by drawing or doodling. The motion slows your thoughts and helps you notice them better. As soon as an idea for writing comes to you, start putting down some words.

If you finish with one vegetable and still have room on the page, fill up the rest of the page by writing about a different vegetable significant to you. Or make a bigger drawing.

When the page is full, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

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.

There’s Always Water Somewhere

by Nancy Casey

Scan around in your big wide memory and everywhere you look, you’ll find water.

Our bodies are full of it. Without it we die. The same is true for all the other plants and animals we share the planet with.

Hidden pipes carry water in and out of offices and houses. Clouds full of it fall as rain, filling puddles, lakes and streams. Water freezes and makes snow and ice.

Today, write about a memory that has water in it.

Maybe you’ll tell a relaxing story about an outing beside a body of water. Maybe you’ll remember hard times that were caused by flood or ice.

Has there ever been a time when a hot or cold drink really hit the spot? Or a time when you longed for one and couldn’t have it?

You could write about a water sport—an event you witnessed or participated in. Boating. Swimming. Diving.

Water figures into the care of a pet, a garden, or houseplants. Do you have experience with any of these?

Maybe you’ll arrive at a story to tell by thinking about your interactions with water. Or maybe you’ll look around for the water in a story that you want to tell for some reason.

Before you begin, set up your page like this:

Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Mark off a space where you can doodle or draw if you like. Or you can draw and decorate a frame around the whole page.

The page setup, as well as drawing and doodling get your pen started, even before you’ve decided what to write. The motion slows your thoughts and helps you notice them better.

After you’ve told one water story, if there’s room on the page, tell another. Until the page is full. Then go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it 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.

Sweet Relief!

by Nancy Casey

Being alert for bad things that could happen is an important part of staying alive. We do this by instinct and habit in traffic, for instance, or when we draw away from the edge of a cliff.

Sometimes a bad thing is so likely to happen that we have to plan for it. In those cases, the bad thing sits like such a cloud in our consciousness, it can be hard to tell the difference between planning and worrying. We can become rattled. And then, if the bad thing doesn’t happen, we feel sweet relief!

Today, write about a bad thing that didn’t happen, even though it was a real possibility. Begin with the moment when you realized it wasn’t going to happen. Write about the sweet feeling of relief. Did it come upon you with something that was said? Something you saw? What made the bad thing evaporate in your imagination? What brought relief?

After you write about the moment of relief, you can go on to tell as much or as little of the rest of the story as you like.

Your life probably has many stories of relief. Think about them and decide which one to start writing about as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top where the title will go. Mark off a space where you can doodle or draw if you like. Or you can draw and decorate a frame around the whole page.

Drawing and doodling get your pen started, even if you don’t know what to write. The motion slows your thoughts and helps you notice them better.

After you have written one relief story, if there’s still room on the page, write another one.

When the page is full, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it 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.

A Turning Point, Alphabetically

by Nancy Casey

A turning point is one of those places in our lives where we can say that the future is definitely different from the past. Sometimes we notice them as we pass through them. Sometimes we notice them in retrospect.

Today, you will describe a turning point in your life by going on a scavenger hunt for details on either side of it. You’ll be looking for a detail to match each letter of the alphabet.

Set up your page with your usual line for the title at the top. Then draw two lines down the middle of the page to make a stripe about a half-inch or so wide. Write the letters of the alphabet down the middle in the stripe. You can write the letters from A-Z. Or from Z-A. Or in totally random order. As long as all the letters are there.

Rumble around in your memory to decide on a turning point. Unless you want to, you won’t need to actually write down what the turning point was, just be sure it is clear in your mind.

Some turning points are obvious. Moving to a new place, a different job, a new friend. There’s always the pandemic. Some turning points are traumatic: an illness, injuries, and loss.

Life isn’t zig-zag, it’s a winding road. So many turning points are subtle. There’s a “before” and an “after” marked by objects in your life, for instance. By changes in appearance, too. By the seasons and the phases of the moon. From morning until night.

Turning points happen in your mind and imagination, too. When you learn a fact or a skill. When something “dawns” on you. When you set or abandon a goal. When you start telling a story in a different way.

Whatever turning point you choose, fix it clear in your mind. The left side of the page will be for writing sentences or phrases about Before.  On the right-hand side of the page you will write sentences or phrases about After. One for each letter of the alphabet.

Pick out words that begin with each letter. Write a sentence or phrase on each side of the letter that contains that word. On the left, write something that was true before the turning point. On the right, write something true about after the turning point.

You can do the letters in any order. While you are thinking up what to write, you can doodle and fancy up the borders of the page.

After you have filled the page, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it 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.

Things You Trust

by Nancy Casey

In today’s writing, you will have a chance to consider what you trust. Not who (or even whom!you trust, but what. Things. Not people, not pets, not even plants. Inanimate stuff.

For instance, you probably trust your favorite chair not to collapse under you when you sit on it. You trust gravity to keep working. You trust certain keys to fit in certain locks.

As you gather your writing materials and set up your page, take your mind on a tour of the reliable objects in your life. Draw a line at the top of your page where your title will eventually go. Set aside some room for drawing on the page. You can draw a frame where you can doodle or draw pictures. Or make a border around the whole page that you can decorate.

While you are setting up your page, you might also think about the idea of trust. When you trust something, you have a set of expectations for it and are pretty confident the expectations will be met. The car will start. Winter will come. Pull the cord and the curtain closes.

Write about something you trust. Sing its praises a little bit. Tell why you count on it and how it has helped you down the road of life.

Maybe you’ll write a whole page about one single thing you trust. If you finish writing about one thing and there is still room on the page, write about another. If you don’t know what you are going to write yet, draw or doodle on the page. Drawing and doodling get your pen started. The motion slows your thoughts and helps you notice them better.

After you have filled the page, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to. Add more decoration if there is room. Think up a title.

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

When you have finished, you will have sketched out a partial map of what’s reliable in your life.

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.

What You Didn’t Know

by Nancy Casey

Humans are learning all the time. That’s what we do.

In the process of growing from an infant to an adult, a person learns an awful lot. There was a time when you didn’t know how to say your own name. Or what it would feel like to be as old as you are now.

Learning doesn’t stop after we’ve grown to full size. Sometimes we get very organized and we try to learn. We take a classes or workshop inflower arranging or mathematics. We join sports teams and reading clubs. Other times new understanding comes to us through experience. In every case, there was something (maybe lots!) that we didn’t know when we started.

Learning comes in small, everyday ways, too. We learn what the weather is. We learn what our friends are up to. We learn what’s in our inbox. If you lose your keys, you either learn where you put them, or you learn what it will take to get them replaced.

One thing for certain: You can’t learn what you already know.

Today in your writing, celebrate the many things you have learned in your life—big or small—by writing down things that you didn’t know once but you do now.

Before you get started, draw a line at the top of the page where a title can go. Draw or doodle a little bit on the page to quiet your mind and get focused. Or set aside some space where you can draw later.

Write statements that begin, “Didn’t know…”  and one after another, relate some of the things that, once upon a time, you didn’t know.

Often there is a story that goes with learning something new. Let your mind flicker through the remembering of those stories, but don’t write them down. And don’t let them slow you down. Don’t tell where, or when or why you didn’t know. Don’t explain the consequences of not knowing or what changed with the new information.

Just write down things you didn’t know. One after another. Big or small. No particular order. As many as you can fit on the page.

When you have filled the page, look over your work. Add color and illustration if you haven’t already. Think up a title  for your page 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. Since it’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center, if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.


 

Mysterious Eating

by Nancy Casey

If you are alive, you have a history of eating.

Maybe you have forced yourself to eat. Maybe you have forced yourself to stop eating. You’ve probably eaten food you loved and food you’ve not-loved. Food that’s good for you and food that’s not so great. Food that’s satisfying and food that came up as fast as it went down.

There’s a good chance that in your long history of eating, all of these things have been true at one time or another. All of these things and more!

Let your mind roll around your whole long history of eating as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top where a title will go, and set off some space where you can doodle or draw.

Begin your writing with the words, “Once, I ate…” and tell about whatever eating experience pops into your mind first. Give as many details as you like about what you actually ate. Give some details about the context, too, but leave them sketchy.

For starters, the word “Once” says that you eating story took place in the past, but it doesn’t say if it was 2 minutes ago or when you were one year old. You could mention other things that happened—while you were eating, or before, or after. But be mysterious about it, don’t leave behind enough details for someone to know exactly when this was.

If you were with someone, don’t say who they were. You might write about their hair or their fingernails, their table manners, what they said or how they laugh, but don’t identify them. Try to describe them so that nobody can figure out who they are. Sometimes it helps to try to remember little details instead of big ones.

Similarly, you can write about where you were, but don’t give the exact location. Describe what you could see or hear. Tell what else was in the room or on the table. Include details about the weather, if you like. Just don’t provide the information that will let someone name the place.

Your eating story can be long or short. If there is still room on the page when you finish it, write another one. Begin with, “Once, I ate…” Whether you fill the page with one single eating story or more than one is entirely up to you.

When the page is full, look back over all your work.  Make small changes in what you have written if you like. If you haven’t already used up the drawing space, fill it up any way you want. You could illustrate one of your eating experiences, doodle around, or draw some other thing that’s not obviously related to your writing. Sometimes a really good title will pop into your head while you are drawing.

Write the title at the top of the page, and put your initials and the date on the page, 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. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time. If you would like some help or a little more connection related to your writing,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center and ask about writing coaching.