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.)



  1. Guess I subverted today. This was an older writing that I took off. It has been changed now, as a segment of a play. I wasn't ready for a post card, it wouldn't work well with one. I've been away, to London, to see the King. I missed him, but we had a wonderful four days in London; had a train trip to Milton Keynes and saw some friends who took us to a Pub for lunch. An evening in London we had my birthday dinner with our daughter who was working there for about three weeks. Then we bussed to Northampton to catch a 16-day Princess cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale. After air boating in the Everglades to see some more alligators, we flew home to Houston (Texas).

    1. Sounds like the most wonderful trip!
      Like I said, you're allowed to subvert.Or just go your own sweet way. I very much enjoyed the piece you shared.

  2. Woot! Sunday's (Christian Content) post will contain a lyric I wrote for and about someone who was both a dear friend and a stranger, long ago. If anyone's haunted me all my adult life, she has. The poem will be linked when it goes live.

  3. This is a communique to myself, examining where I am in life.

  4. What an awesome topic, Rosemary. I posted a not-quite journaling entry, but I did write for the topic. I might post it one day, but I think it's too fresh for sharing.

    I really enjoyed browsing around Off Assignment. Such interesting topics. I'm saving the link. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You're very welcome, dear Magaly! I'm glad you got so much out of it.

  5. Here's mine:
    Linky is unlinked.

    1. It's very weird, Sarah! I copy the link you've just left into a browser – and Google tells me it cannot find any such link. Then I go back to a previous P&SU post where your link did work, click that, go to your Home page, find the piece you mean to share – with the exact same link as you've given here! (yes, the one Google couldn't find) add it to Mister Linky, and bingo! everything works. I don't understand it, but the main thin is that we're making it work, weird and laborious as it may be.

  6. It's my first time here and I read with pleasure. Thank you for hosting.

    1. Thank you for participating! However, most of us don't read German, and I am not sure Google translate does justice to your words. Would you be able to provide your own English words in future, please? We would love to understand them.

    2. Also I can't see where to comment on your post at your blog – which may or may not be because it is all in German.


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