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Thursday, 29 March 2018
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
So, Hemingway's in this bar, or maybe it's a restaurant, or a cafe - you've all heard the story - and he bets his writer friends ten pounds each that he can write a story in six words that will reduce them to tears. They all take the bet. He scribbles a few lines on a napkin and tosses it into the middle of the table for them to read. It goes like this:
For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.
His friends duly paid up. Did they cry? We'll never know. But Hemingway considered this his best work. It has beginning, middle and end. It's tragic. Every word is truth. No speculation, no introspection (at least on the part of the author), no fat.
Of course, the provenance of this story is open to challenge. Was Hemingway the first to write it? Had he seen an advertisement like it in the back of a newspaper? I imagine there are thousands of unintentional short stories crammed into the back pages of papers on a daily basis. Tragic, romantic, amusing, dark. Every snatch of prose tells a story.
Here's my own take on a six-word novel, in the footsteps of Hemingway.
For sale: Ring. One careless owner.
And a play in six words, too.