According to literary legend, Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story with just six words. “For sale: baby shoes. Never used.” That’s it. You, the reader, fill in the blanks. Whether Hemingway wrote this or not isn’t all that important. What is important is that life in all its complexity can sometimes, just sometimes, be summed up so briefly.
Today, Smith Magazine, creator of the six-word memoir project, is taking the writing community by storm with its take on the baby shoe piece. And in looking at their website, you’ll find endless six-word stories.
“Dated realtor…possessed only curb appeal.”
“Made wrong turn. Crushed heart. Recalculating. ”
” His cancer advances. My hope retreats.”
“Making entrance easier than finding exit.”
“Never really finished anything, except cake.”
“Must I date the entire haystack?!”
“Miscommunication gives Ben and Jerry’s business.”
“Finally uttered those three little words.”
Who knew that six words could be such a fascinating read? Now that I’m in my mid-50s, my six-word memoir is far different from ones I would have written earlier, maybe because I’m willing to open more doors, but just as willing to close them when needed. I’m more willing to make a path and stumble rather than follow one that isn’t right for me. And I’m more willing to voice my opinion today, but smart enough to know when silence is better. I like the person I’ve grown to be.
Who am I at 56? My six-word story sums it up. “My transportation: a leap of faith.”
“Everyone has a story. What’s yours?”