Legend has it that the writer Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in six words. (Some say the legend is probably not true.) Nevertheless, the six-word story attributed to him is this poignant one:
For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
Over the years, other writers rose to the challenge and produced these examples of “flash fiction” as it is sometimes called:
Ring. Church. Groom. “Where is she?”
They lived happily ever after, separately.
Dinner for two, widower and memories.
Alcohol brought us together, and apart.
Recovery never really ends, does it?
Several years ago, Regina Brett, former columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, challenged her readers to write a memoir in six words. Here are a few her readers submitted:
Student of life; child of God.
Seventy-one, and still having fun!
Child. Mother. Grandmother. Tried my best.
Been there, done that, what next?
Found the answer: Live, love, listen.
Divorced single mom, praying, forgiving, persevering!
Unemployed writer, looking for white space.
To mark her 51st wedding anniversary, one woman wrote: Passed silver. Passed gold. Anticipating diamond.
Brett’s favorite one was: Won some. Lost some. Still winsome.
A few years back, an article in Reader’s Digest (Feb. ’09) contained excerpts from the book, Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. Here are a few memoirs from that book:
Where he is, I am home.
Love: eight pounds and six ounces.
In hindsight, I’d still choose you.
Moved in. No ring. Moved out.
Hired me. Fired me. Married me.
My life’s accomplishments? Sanity, and you.
What about you? I invite you to try to say something meaningful in six words. It can be a story, a memoir, or even a bumper sticker. Or what about a six-word prayer? When I taught high school English and creative writing, I often did the assignments I gave my students—so I would appreciate the work (and the fun!) that was often involved. So, I will conclude this reflection with a few of my own attempts to say something meaningful in six words.
Dear God. It’s me. Help! Amen.
Fun-loving God, please tickle my fancy.
Speak to me, Lord. Please enunciate.
Thank You for puppies and strawberries.
Here is a six-word description of my prayer life: Ordinary, mostly. Amazing, occasionally. Daily, always.
I wrote this inscription for my tombstone years ago: She was lucky—and she knew it. (I know, that’s seven words!)
Here’s a poem I wrote a while ago. It’s called “Snow”: Glad it falls in flakes—not balls. (I know… that’s seven words again…)
Now it’s your turn to try to write something in six words. It can be serious, funny, profound, poignant, mysterious, or whatever. If you want to label your six words (short story, memoir, prayer, epitaph) that’s fine. But you don’t have to. And to encourage responses, I am giving away a FREE copy of my little book, The Lord is My Shepherd, to one lucky person. I will put in a bag the names of all those who respond to this week’s blog in any way and draw the name of the lucky winner. Deadline for responses is January 5, 2019 midnight (EST). Winner will be announced on my blog next Monday, January 7th. I eagerly look forward to your responses below! I’m sure my readers will enjoy them too!
I want to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy, and Holy New Year! I am holding each of you in special prayer. Thank you so much for reading my blog!
Jesus once described himself in six words: “The Way, the Truth, the Life.” Here is a beautiful song based on those six words. It’s called “The Way” and is sung by Pat Barrett. It’s an appropriate song to sing as we journey through the New Year.
Please respond to this reflection and/or song below. I also welcome your six-word stories, memoirs, prayers, or whatever! If you respond below, you will automatically be entered in the contest to win that free book!