“And, in the end,
it’s not the years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.”
Anybody up for a game? A challenge?
I really should be working on one of my writing projects today. But, I don’t know, it just seems too much like work.
Hemingway is credited with a famous six-word short story:
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
Intriguing, yes? Now, whether this was actually Hemingway’s or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that the six words are genius. The imagination stirs; one thinks of possibilities.
Here is a quirky short story I came across somewhere:
Ransom, by Stuart Dybek
Broke and desperate, I kidnapped myself.
Ransom notes were sent to interested parties.
Later, I sent hair and fingernails, too.
They insisted on an ear.
A university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing the following elements:
The prize-winning essay was as follows:
“My God,” said the Queen. “I’m pregnant. I wonder who did it.”
One of my favorite really short stories was originally a story by John O’Hara but was retold succinctly and more famously by Somerset Maugham in
The Appointment in Samarra
DEATH SPEAKS: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
Okay, now I’m not quite that clever or literary, so I’ll just go for something less clever and less literary. Maybe instead of a brilliant short, short story like Somerset Maugham, I’ll just write a six-word memoir.
Following are four catchy six-word stories that caught my attention on the internet:
—Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back.
—Thought I was right. I wasn’t.
—Epitaph: He shouldn’t have fed it.
—Not quite what I was planning.
Okay, so let’s all shoot for a Six-Word Memoir.
How about: I came. I saw. I conquered.
(Okay, so in Latin, it’s really only three words—veni,vidi,vici. And, it’s not particularly original.)
The challenge is to be able to sum up in a few, original words what our lives are all about. If not in six words, at least in a sentence or two.
Why are we here? What are we supposed to be doing with our lives, and are we doing it?
As for me…what is expected of me? Is life all about me, or am I a part of something bigger, a character in a larger story?
You’ll have to come up with your own ideas for your own life, but I’ve been thinking about my six-word memoir. I know this will change over the years to come. I know I will add and amend and delete. But here are a few thoughts for right now. For today:
1. I have seen love & disdain, poverty & wealth, God’s story & the world’s story:
I’m blessed to be a witness
2. In parenting & in grandparenting, in marriage & in love, in work & in play:
Tried to live a good story
3. I have traveled myriad pathways of faith and truth and have often ended up in mazes, mires, and dead ends. But God has always found me:
Lost & Found: Journey through life
4. I hope to still have a few surprises ahead of me in life:
Like a mystery; a real page-turner
5. Every choice I have made in the past has formed who I am today:
Fortunate to have lived an adventure
6. Yes, it has been a marvel. I’ve been up. I’ve been down. I’ve known thrills, and I’ve suffered doldrums:
Wow! It’s been quite a ride!
Okay, now your turn. Take this as a challenge. As an assignment.
As a gift.
Think about your life as a single-line review. A six-word memoir.
Think about your life as an epitaph on a tombstone.
Think about your life.