Writing Assignment: Write An Urgent Message To A Stranger

by Randy Murray on March 21, 2014

A strange man stops at your cafe table. He steadies himself against the empty chair, then looks quickly to his left and right.

“Here,” he says. He takes a crumpled piece of paper out of his coat pocket and drops it in the center of the table. And then he limps away.

A waiter? You flatten the paper and find that it is not your bill. Instead there is a single, hastily written line.

“Say nothing to Swartz.”

But you know no Swartz. You are not a spy.

So you ask for your check, pay the bill, and take a circuitous route back to work. These things typically don’t go well in the movies.

Fortunately for you, the stranger was probably just completing this writing assignment.

For today’s assignment, write an urgent message for a stranger and leave it in a public place. I’d advise against leaving instructions for detailed actions. Confessions of crimes and indiscretions are unwise. But you might urge someone to read a particular book. Watch a movie. Avoid tall, dark strangers in smokey back rooms.

At first this assignment may seem trivial, but no writing is trivial if done with intention. Your intention for this assignment should be to have fun writing the message and to inspire fun in someone else. Think carefully. Do no harm.

And then leave your message folded on a park bench. Place one atop a pile of magazines in an office. Deposit your message on a bus seat as you depart.

For bonus points, leave the URL for this Writing Assignment on the page that you write your message on.

Writing Assignment: Write An Urgent Message To A Stranger by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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