Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Most Boring Thing

Kate Burns

Here's an exercise to keep your writing muscles limber.

Find the most boring thing that happened to you today... or, perhaps, the most boring thing you did. Now, write a paragraph about it. Here's the catch: when you are finished, it should be the most nail-bitingly suspenseful piece of writing ever.

I turned my boss's really boring commute into this:

Two Hours Late

Tallie's nails tick-tick-ticked on the steering wheel. The dash clock blinked its seconds, but minutes snuck forward while her eyes were on the road. It's still ok, she thought. Still closer to nine than ten. Tallie punched the radio on. That woman was still droning on about art in the community. "Ugh." She slapped it off.

Any other day. Any other day, it would have been fine to be late. She looked out the window to her right. Would it be faster off here? No. The lineup of cars with their exhaust mingling with the sleet ran all the way back behind the exit she'd just passed. Tallie breathed out slowly, let her head sink down onto her hands.

If only it were Monday. Why did it have to be a Tuesday? Nothing good ever happened on a Tuesday. She wondered if the lawyers knew that. Hers was a good one, a real detail guy, Dad said. He'd have noticed, surely.

If it was Monday, she'd just be on her way to work. She'd be late, but she wouldn't be rushing. Could never rush. Tallie hoped she could still go to work after this was over.

Tuesday. Seven months, twelve days ago. First Tuesday in April. Late for work, driving too fast. The light. Yellow, then red. Pushing it. The white Honda. The driver, a woman. Her face, surprised...

The car behind her honked, startling Tallie. She looked at the clock. Nine fifty two. Then she knew. The woman was already there, waiting. Waiting to see if Tallie had any sense of remorse. The woman would be at the hearing, right now, Para Transpo driver smoking in the hall, waiting to take her back to her own busy schedule: physio, group, crafts.

So would the judge.

Happy Writing!
Kate Burns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Your boss here. When you asked me to give you an example of something mundane to inspire your work, I happily agreed. That is, until I read this post. To suggest that through my actions I would cause someone harm is not only disturbing, but disappointing. Had I known that this is what you were going to publish, I never would have agreed. That said, I think that you really need to revisit your career with us. I'm not sure that with the style of writing that you "supposedly" do on the side, that you would be a good fit here for the long term. In fact, I would suggest you don't come back to the office. I intend to pack up your desk this weekend and I will courier your belongings to you on Monday. I'm sorry to use this blog to let you know but I think that this is the most appropriate forum seeing as you seem to contribute more to this site than you do at work.

.....kidding folks.....Katie suggested I practice writing with suspense....with a little twist at the end. How did I do?

Great blog posts Katie! Cheers, your boss!