Monday, February 1, 2021

The right words have impact

By Lloyd Arnold, Public Domain
This is a story I’ve read and heard about for years (you probably have too), but not even Snopes can really confirm it. It doesn’t matter; it’s still a great story. In a discussion about brevity, someone bet Ernest Hemingway he couldn’t write a story in six words. He took the bet. This is the story attributed to him.

For sale, baby shoes, never used.
Can six words bring you to tears? They can me. At least these six words can. This story has images, pathos, tragedy, and despair. It shows, it doesn’t tell. It’s a magnificent story. Hemingway is also supposed to have said it was his best work. I might argue with that, but it’s certainly a powerful work.
Based on Hemingway’s words, someone put together a little book about life in six words. (I really need to find the name and get a copy.) One that stuck was “I still make coffee for two,” by Zak Nelson. Another poignant tale.
Okay, got off my duff and looked for it. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon. (Since I looked, the Smith Magazine site has gone down--thanks, Donnell, for letting me know.)

It’s all there, making this blog completely superfluous (maybe not entirely—how often do I get to use that word?).
Have any you’d like to share? I’m thinking but to no avail. (Is that six words?)

NOTE: Sorry, no First Friday stories this month. EV


Polly Iyer said...

You're right about the baby shoes story. It evokes a sad story behind the story, and it's anything you want it to be.

sherry fundin said...

sherry @ fundinmental

Ellis Vidler said...

The one about coffee also makes me sad. It says so much, and I can see a whole story behind it. It's amazing that you can get so much from the right six words.

Marsha said...

Hey, Ellis. I haven't heard this story before. Thanks for sharing. Wow, his words are so powerful. The coffee one grabs you in the throat, too. I'll share. :)

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

So true. I’ve heard the story as well, but not the coffee story, both poignant. Shared to my FB.

marilyn leach said...

The simple words watered my soul.

Unknown said...

Both are genius and evoke such strong feelings while allowing the reader to create their own personal scenario.