I’m not known for my brevity, so today’s Writing Challenge is living up to its name. Can I tell a story in just six sentences? We’ll see. But not today. Immediately, this challenge brought to mind the genius of Ernest Hemingway. As the story goes, “Papa” settled a bar bet with his writing colleagues by crafting a complete tale – beginning, middle, end – in just six words:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
He proclaimed it his finest work, apparently, and it has inspired countless famous and lesser-known writers to try their hand. Perfectly concise, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a compilation of six-word stories that at once expand and contract all kinds of human experiences. I marvel at the skill of those who can so effectively pare down to its very essence the story of a life.
How does one craft a microscopic memoir? Being Hemingway helps. Distance from the experience, I imagine, helps too. So I will return to this challenge another day.