Friday, November 25, 2022

Friday Writings #54: Writing to a Stranger


Hello, dear Wordsmiths! 

Have you found any interesting internet things for writers, lately?

I just learned of the existence of an online lit mag called Off Assignment. It seeks submissions on just a few topics – most notably ‘Letter to a Stranger’ in response to the question, ‘Who haunts you?’ Some intriguing titles of pieces chosen are: To Paul, Who Sometimes Wore Red Cashmere Socks; To the Lost and Found Daughter; To My Parisian Gynecologist; To the Specter Who Haunts Our House. They beg to be read, don't they? I'll be revisiting until I've enjoyed them all.

During the first isolation of the pandemic, they also had a similar category – no longer operating – called ‘Postcard to a Stranger’. These pieces are described as ‘poignant messages to people we notice from a distance during this crisis’. Each message needed to be short enough to fit on one postcard. Titles of these, depicted as addresses on the postcards, include: To the Man No Longer in the Window; To the Man Doing Home Repairs; To the Stranger in the Park; To the Elderly Gentleman Dressed in a Royal Blue Velvet Suit.


 If you're interested in submitting to Off Assignment, the link above will take you there. (They pay money and all!)

Meanwhile, I thought writing to a stranger would be a lovely idea to play with here, in either letter or postcard version. (We'll try the 'haunting' theme another time.)

So, for this week’s optional prompt, I invite you to write to a stranger. Not just any stranger, but someone specific you have in mind, whether observed or imagined. It doesn’t have to be someone you observed during the pandemic; but it could be if you like. Make the title of your piece 'Letter to' or 'Postcard to' the name or description of the person.  E.g. mine will be, 'Letter to the Man Who Sits on the Steps Across from the Park'.

Our upper limit of 369 words is too long for a postcard – but we stipulate 369 words or fewer, so you could use the postcard idea. (Try writing your draft on an actual postcard if you're not sure of the length – or paper that size.) 

On the other hand, 369 words would be far too short for a submission to the 'Letters' at Off Assignment (they really want essays) but plenty long enough for a letter you could share here. 

Sorry we don't pay, lol, but we do read and comment.

And of course, if you would rather share something else entirely, please do!  

Guidelines in either case: Old or new, poetry or prose, 369 words max, just one post per person.

(Don't forget, you can always subvert a prompt too – by doing the opposite of what it says, or by writing about why you refuse to write to it, or by deliberately misunderstanding it, or by going off at a tangent....)

Link to your post in Mister Linky below, visit each other’s posts, link back to us at your blog, and by all means have a chat to us in the Comments here too, if you wish.  

Next week, Magaly will invite us to create poetry or prose that includes a “bleeding heart(figuratively or literally).


(Postcard image is from Unsplash by Ireland Rose.)


Friday, November 18, 2022

Friday Writing #53 Ordinary


Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! I’m taking a beat to enjoy the small stretch of ordinariness between the frenzy of the US election season and the beginning of the hectic holiday season.  To honor that, I’ve decided to make the word “ordinary” the optional prompt for this week. What does it bring up for you? I’ll take those thoughts, or any others you care to share, in either poetry or prose form. Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome. Just please limit yourself to one entry per person and 369 words or fewer for your post.

For next week’s prompt, Rosemary will invite you to write to a stranger.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Friday Writings #52: Dialogue

“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The quote above is taped to a glass dividing patients and pain management health care providers, I noticed it while I waited for an enraged man to stop yelling at a nurse. The nurse kept on trying to get a word in, but the man would just shout louder. I read the quote, and thought, Irony has a peculiar sense of humor. I also thought that the word “dialogue” might make an interesting prompt.

So, dear poets and storytellers, for today’s optional prompt, I would like you to create poetry or prose that includes dialogue (literally or figuratively, internal or external… your choice).

As always, if the prompt doesn’t speak to you, share any piece of poetry or prose which does. New or old, fiction or nonfiction, short or longish (369 words or fewer). Share the direct link to your post. One link per participant, please. After you share your words, visit other word lovers, and start a dialogue.

next week, Rommy will ask us to shape our thoughts around the word “ordinary”, and whatever that brings up for us.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Friday Writings #51: The Power of Three



Greetings, dear Wordsmiths! What does the number 3 suggest to you?

It’s often said that three is a magic number – and, by extension, multiples of three. Be that as it may, it’s a number I like. I like finding instances of it in my life, such as when I lived for a while at a house with the street number 396.

As a mother, I raised three sons. As a wife, I’ve had three husbands! I only had children with one – but via my third husband, Andrew, I acquired my three (already grown) stepchildren, who have become my good friends.

The best off-line writers’ groups I’ve been in, for mutual support and for help with improving the work – one in the past, one in the present – have each had three members. The first one lasted years, even when we all lived in different countries and had to conduct it by email. Though we eventually moved on for practical reasons, we all remember it fondly. The present one is local. In this small town, we’re within five minutes’ drive of each other. It’s easy for us to meet in the comfortable home of the one who doesn’t have a car.

This P&SU community, which we all create by our participation, has had three stages of evolution – one when it was begun by Robb Lloyd as a loose connection of small support groups under one large umbrella; next as the ten years of Poets United, most of that time under the leadership of Mary and Sherry; now as Poets and Storytellers United, coordinated by a team of three.

The number three pops up in nursery rhymes, stories, songs and catchphrases too. Three Blind Mice, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Musketeers, Three Little Maids From School Are We, Three Coins in the Fountain, Third time lucky …

I’m sure you can find many things it suggests to you!

So this week’s optional prompt is to share a piece of writing on the number three, or which includes that value in some way.

Or, share something unprompted if you’d rather.

Guidelines: It can be old or new, verse or prose. Link us to your blog post via Mister Linky below. One link per person, please, and there’s a limit of 369 words (yes, a multiple of three) excluding title and notes.

Have fun writing and reading!

Next week, Magaly will invite us to write poetry or prose that includes dialogue.


(Image of hand by 'Sincerely media' at Unsplash)