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A writing exercise

This morning I made the acquaintance of writer Mac Logan on Twitter. Since then I’ve been poking through his blog, and I discovered an interesting writing prompt.

I’m doing an experiment today: I’m going to open up the first spam or selling type of email I receive from the top of my email inbox.

The task? Go five lines down and seven words in, then write 250 words based on the word I find, and complete the rough text in under half an hour.

I thought I’d try it myself. Thanks to Gmail’s spam filter and some judicious unsubscribing on my part, I don’t receive much spam these days, but this morning a message from an advocacy group slipped past and I got my word: white. Here’s what I wrote in about 20 minutes. (I did minimal tweaking because I had hit precisely 250 words.)


It’s all stained, all of it. Nothing is pure. Nothing pristine. Even the palest shade betrays some hue, some blue or red or brown that saps away the essence of a thing. Of a creature. Of a person, if you can even call it that.

There’s no soul there. Or if there is, it’s corrupted.

Every day I fight back. I know I am losing the battle. But what I do has purpose. It creates something from nothing. It brings that purity back, if only for a little while. It shows the world what’s possible.

The main thing is to remove the colors. And there are so many colors.

I take my time. I make small steps. I choose one thing. One small mark at a time upon a world drenched in putrid dye.

Last week it was a chair. It took a certain combination of chemicals, meticulously determined over many trials, to purge the darkness. You cannot create purity with paint or lacquer. The subject must be fundamentally altered. The rot must be forcibly removed, leaving only the splendor of the original soul.

It cannot be rushed.

This week I have a far more difficult subject. There are so many colors, so many materials. I will carefully test new methods on each one until I find the perfect treatment.

When I am finished, her blood, her organs, her hair, her nails, her skin, her eyes, her all will be free of corruption. She will shine the most brilliant white.

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