Wednesday, March 23, 2011


For today, fashion a blindfold out of an old rag or necktie. Use it to cover your eyes. Now go to your window, preferably one facing the street.

For ten minutes or so, scribble down the phonetic spelling -- like they do in comic books -- that corresponds to the various sounds you hear. Try not to think of the objects making these sounds. Describe the noises as best you can using language. Come up with twenty or thirty.

Next take the sequence of your new words and use each of them as verbs in a short story about children playing G.I. Joe, as narrated by one of the children recently "killed" during an imaginary battle.

Get as poetic, nonsensical or political as you like. A combination of all three would be grand!

Send your story to

Monday, March 21, 2011


For today, call or text your best friend and ask them about the last dream they remember having. Next, do the same with a sibling, cousin or parent. (If you don't have any of those, then another friend will do.)

Consider these dreams alongside your own most recent dream.

Now, think of a real figure that is mutually known to you and both of these people.

Finally, rewrite each dream with the addition of this mutually known person. Try to obey the logic and rhythm of each respective dream, but include this new figure and try to situate them within these worlds.

If you'd like to go further, you could unite all three dreams into a master narrative starring your inserted figure. Your call.

Whatever the result, send it to We sincerely hope (for your sake) that it's less horrifying than this:

Sunday, March 13, 2011


For today, please consider helping us out. You just might end up helping yourself.

See, we pride ourselves on being a writer-friendly publication. We love our writers and admire the tenacity and dedication their work requires.

Because of this sentiment, rejecting work is often painful and always uncomfortable. This is why we need a one-size-fits-all rejection letter that gives the author of each rejected piece a sense of closure. Yes, we could forgo the gesture altogether. Yes, we could certainly write it ourselves; it might be sufficiently sympathetic and encouraging. But wouldn't you rather hear from one of your own?

Please send us a brief rejection letter template. If we receive a real Blue Ribbon piece in response to this assignment, we'll adopt it as our Official Bearer of Bad News, giving the winner credit if she so desires.

This is your chance to craft the rejection letter you never received. What would you have wanted to hear?

Send it to

Lastly, a look at the finest creation of John Kennedy Toole, our patron saint of rejected literature:

Friday, March 11, 2011


For today, let's a revisit an old LSLRWA favorite.

Consider the following twelve words, listed consecutively on page 635 of Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary:

- embedding
- embellish
- embellishment
- ember
- Ember day
- emberizine
- embezzle
- embiid
- embiotocid
- embitter
- Embla
- emblaze

Your task is to create, without consulting any reference material other than your own mind, a definition for each word.

If you're feeling especially ambitious, go ahead and complete a short story or poem in which each of these words is used as you've defined it.

Send your definition and your work of literature to

Sunday, March 6, 2011


For today, help us salute Jessie Winslow.

Fantastically talented photographer, gifted poet and all around nice person, Ms. Winslow graciously assisted us during our recent fund-raising drive. To express our gratitude, we are dedicating today's writing assignment to her work, which makes its home at

--- Fun facts: Her great-grandmother played an essential role in inventing Kodachrome film, and was consequently listed in the liner notes for the single version of Paul Simon's song of the same name. Her great-grandfather was a magician who moonlighted as a writer of educational childrens songs, including the original tune for "The Alphabet Song" (though his publishing company deleted several delightful passages during the revision process. But he was not an artist to dwell bitterly on such things.) Quite a creative pedigree. Winslow and her sister, Rachel, previously published a photograph in LSLR #4. -----

So, for today, slowly and carefully take in the following sequence of images, all brilliantly captured by Ms. Winslow's camera:

(our ability to reproduce these splendid images is hampered by our reliance on the blog's templates and capacities. The gorgeous originals can be found here. We apologize to Jessie for the crummy reproductions.)

Now, your job is to construct a short story or poem based on this sequence. Start with the elderly gentleman against the mountains and end your tale at the empty backyard table at sunset. In between, use each image to its fullest narrative potential, and pay careful attention to the emotional shifts (color, distance, texture, etc.) occuring between the photographs. Come up with something magical; something that these pictures deserve.

Send the result to


For today, imagine your name is J. Whitney and you are an MD who has done extensive research on the state of American well-being. You've been commissioned to write a 2,000-word editorial (to be published in the New York Times) about the federal policies regarding childhood obesity. The catch: your piece has been clandestinely sponsored by British Petroleum, who have been supporting you financially and underwriting your education since you were a toddler. They own you.... as well as the 200 other young professionals they've "sponsored" since the 1970s.

Now, BP is giving you $500,000 to subtly insert their propaganda in your piece without arousing suspicion. This has been their most aggressive demand on you thus far. Be as cunning and evil as possible without blowing your cover.

Send your editorial to

Thursday, March 3, 2011


For today, we're going to cast off the shackles of propriety and immerse ourselves in the world of surrealist pop culture.

As many of you may have heard, the actor Charlie Sheen (the 5'10" star of Major League 2 and Terminal Velocity) has himself recently cast off the shackles of propriety in a most public fashion. In this media-saturated climate, he's going to need all of the help he can get. And so he is now looking to hire, to the tune of $180,000 per year (plus expenses), a personal Entertainment Czar. You are free to interpret the position however you like.

We are asking you to prepare a resume and cover letter that will convince Mr. Sheen that you are the right person for this job.

Send your materials to

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The submission deadline for ISSUE VI is TODAY. After 11:59 (CST) tonight we will no longer be accepting submissions for LSLR #6: Spring, 2011. Everything received thereafter will be considered for our summer issue.

So finish that last polish and get your work in before midnight: