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I was at a writing seminar yesterday which focused on free writing. But there was a kind of departure from that near the end which was a true writing exercise, one meant to show that even writing about boring things could yield valuable material. Even writing – as the exercise went – about boring things in the most boring way possible could produce workable material. The idea was to challenge the advice “write what you know” or “write where your interest lies” that writers are so often given.

We were to pick a word we thought was boring, and write about it.  But also, every sentence in the piece also had to be boring. We had about 7-8 minutes. I enjoyed my piece so I thought I’d share it. I think a lot of it benefits from a monotone delivery as a spoken word piece, and I’m too close right now to properly decide if it stands well on its own. I hope so. Here it is, unedited.


Shoelaces go on shoes.
They tie.
There are long shoelaces.
Some are not as long.
There’s a stiff thing at the end.
It’s part of the shoelaces.

Shoelaces are black a lot.
A good percentage of shoelaces: black.
But not always.
Sometimes they come untied.
Then, you tie them.
And they stay that way for a while.
You can untie them on your own.
You can leave them tied.
There are only two real states
for shoelaces then.

Shoelaces don’t have a lot of marketing.
They usually come with the shoe.
Sometimes you need more though.
Because shoelaces break.
That’s not fun.

But it’s not that bad either.
You just go out and buy another set.
Because they’re always kind of around.
You can get them at shoe stores.
They just hang there on the rack.
The rack with the shoelaces.
Then you get the broken one off your shoe and throw it away,
And you put the new one on.

Shoelaces go through holes.
Some people like the under method.
Some people like the over method.
There’s a new way that’s more across.
That’s the big news in shoelaces.

So, what did I learn from this piece? No matter what your topic is, or how well you know it, love it, want it, or hate it, you can still enter that topic. It might embellish a piece you’re working on. Or you might just come out of it with a jumping-off point for another exercise. For instance, the observation, “Shoelaces don’t have a lot of marketing,” is an odd one. What character would have this thought? “There are only two real states for shoelaces” is a thought a character might have when they’re thinking about choices.

Anyway, I thought this one was interesting.