inspiration writing

Speedy Writing Assignment

During the last meeting of our local writers group, we did a speedy writing assignment. This happens when group members run out of things to share. We didn’t have any sort of assignment prepared in advance, so we took the first line of a book one of our members had with her and used that as a writing prompt. The book was The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and the first line was: “The Nazi officers are dressed in black.”

Here is what I wrote:

The Nazi officers are dressed in black. The TIG welders are clad in blue. The Daisy Dancers prefer green and white, while Rutee Anna dashes around the monkey bars in velvet red with a hint of pink sparkle.

The Nazi officers aren’t really Nazis or officers; they are just pretending. Though they are not pretending to wear black. Black is the color of street artists and that’s what these Nazi officers are, street artists busking to make a point. The point is lost on their audience, who don’t understand the subtlety of thumbing your nose at oppressive forces by pretending to be them.

The TIG welders are real welders, but artists, too, in the gritty way of people who work with their hands to make practical structures, creatively solving each problem as it arises. Creatively cussing until the solution comes. They are welding the frame of a new, unneeded parking garage along the avenue beside the park.

The Daisy Dancers aren’t dancers anymore, though all of them still enjoy daisies. The three women wear matching white straw hats adorned with silk daisies of various colors. Joy has lavender daisies; Gail has frosty blue; Martha has traditional white.


It’s the sort of piece that surprised me after it came out because when you are trying to write quickly, you feel stuff tumbling out of your head and onto the page and you’re pretty sure it’s not going to make much sense.

Where would you go with a writing prompt that starts with “The Nazi officers are dressed in black”?

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