Archive for April 15th, 2009

sandals2I stole the idea and the photo for this particular blog from one of my favorite blogs, A Dark Planet, from David Terrenoire.  I hope he doesn’t mind my theft but i’ve had this rolling around in my head for a couple of days now and felt like sharing.  Sorry, David.

In his post, David talked about coming across this tiny pair of sandals in the office park where he works, a place not frequented by children.  He wrote about how this sparked all sorts of speculation.  It was basically the start of a story which reminded him of what Ernest Hemingway had written when challenged to come up with a story in just six words:

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

It’s a stunning use of six simple words and nine syllables.  It conjures up all sorts of storylines involving all sorts of human experience- love and marriage, tragedy and loss, etc.   It’s like the spark that sets off the explosion that creates  a new universe. A Big Boom of ideas.

I found other examples.  For instance William Shatner came up with this:

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.  

Then there’s this from author Margaret Atwood:

Longed for him.  Got him.  Shit.

And Augusten Burroughs wrote:

Oh, that?  It’s nothing.  Not contagious.

To his credit, David Terrenoire came up on short notice with:

A mother, now childless, seeks divorce.

There’s a website, Six Word Stories, that has a running log of such stories,to which anyone can submit.  Some are pretty witty.  Some very creative.  A few recent ones:

No thanks, Eve.  I prefer oranges.      – from Ruth Polleys

And from Brian (just Brian):   

Five zombies.  Four bullets.  Two zombies.

There are many more but I still haven’t found one that has that completeness of idea and emotion that Hemingway brought with his six words.  I keep running some through my head, kind of like trying to put together a puzzle.  For me, it’s like composing a painting. I’m trying to create something that has a sense of its own world with the fewest elements, paring away detail but trying to find an iconic image that carries all sorts of meaning, needing no other words.  I always seem to find myself in a dark, kind of noir setting.  

Greyhound into Reno.  Cuckold fingers pistol.

Okay, it needs work.  I never claimed to be Hemingway or even a writer.  I paint pictures!

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