Writing Exercise: Cursing Strangers

I recently found this exercise in a forgotten notebook.  We were to describe our reaction if a curse directed towards a stranger came true.

I’m not sure I can do this exercise properly: you see, being a paragon of virtue (virtue/virtues: all seven of them–in any order), I don’t curse strangers willy-nilly.   I practice patience in line-ups and charity in crowded train stations, etc, etc… and that chastity thing would never even be an issue, seeing as we’re discussing strangers (I’m not into that).

Now, were I to find myself in a situation where a stranger required cursing, I, as a writer and generally-creative person, hope I would make an effort to come up with something fresh, unique and well-thieved–perhaps something involving blasted members or camel droppings.

Oh, but here I must stop myself: honesty is a virtue.  I do occasionally curse strangers, but it’s unintentional.  It’s something so spontaneous, so instinctive that there is absolutely no forethought involved.

Fuck off and die.

That is the curse that whips its way through my brain… but never through my lips.

I cannot describe my possible reaction were this curse to come true.  The issue is this: what does it look like when someone fucks off?  The verb is quite clear, but the preposition muddles it all.  If I had to take a wild guess at my reaction, it would be calm but careful observation so that I would finally know what the phrase truly means.

Of course, if the phrase is open to individual interpretation, it would be nice if I could curse a group of strangers (say, 10-20 of them) so that I could have a reasonable sample.  Better yet, I could curse the entirety of Union Station at rush hour.  I could write a paper on the subject–or perhaps a whole book–and become famous.  I’d be in the same category as the first successful alchemist.

My reaction to the second part of the curse is easy: “Hmph.”  But I would be conscientious of my role in the situation, and I’d accept responsibility for my actions: I’d bury the body nicely.  (No need to add to to the carnage that’s already on the streets of the GTA.)  People who do what I tell them to do reap the rewards of my generosity.

One response to “Writing Exercise: Cursing Strangers

  1. “If I had to take a wild guess at my reaction, it would be calm but careful observation so that I would finally know what the phrase truly means.”… thus confirming your existence as a writer.


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