Six Word Memoirs

Years ago I was told that concision was key to success. Say little but say it well. Be of consequence. I always liked the idea of not saying very much at all, ensuring brevity and introspection in what was not said as opposed to all that was. Somewhere along the line, someone suggested six words and it has consequently become the marker for attainment. Of course there are those of you who will be sat here basking in the irony of me relentlessly writing a blog whilst commenting on an imperative need to be concise and meaningful. To you I say fuck you. There’s your six words.

For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Reportedly Ernest Hemingway, having been bet to the contrary, triumphed in a particular wager, to the tune of ten dollars, posed by his friend back when he was alive and sober enough to do so. The task was to write a story in six words. He wrote the above. As a result, year after succeeeding year has seen pretentious literary types with peculiar moustaches and tweed blazers with funny elbow pads (that smell like old men) anguish over the story despondently. What did he mean? What was he trying to say? Why doesn’t my moustache look like his? The questions were, as you can see – profound.  

Most people have settled somewhat upon a couple, who had had (I know what I mean) and subsequently lost a child; hence negating any further need for shoes. Did the mother miscarry? Are the parents poor, hence the resale? Was this in anyway related to A Farewell to Arms? Nothing is quite clear and yet the sentence is bathed in his characteristic tragedy and we will be scratching our heads for years to come, pondering what he really might have meant.

Hemingway called it his iceberg theory. The facts float succintly above the water like turds, delivering a simple allegory; underneath which lies the cogs and wheels of structure and symbolism. I have no idea where the faecal simile came from, but it is apt I feel. As someone who has encroached upon a lonely turd in the toilet, helplessly unflushed, I can assure you, the mystery is gargantuan and absurd. Who left it there? Why? To what end? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??

I think I’ve rambled. In any case, brevity suits our contemporary social climate. We update one another in 140 characters, painfully reporting every pointless occurence with religious regularity whilst saying absolutely nothing at all. I really couldn’t care less about your cat and the little dead rodent gifts it bestows upon you; here’s your story: YOU MADE ME KILL YOUR CAT. These utterances however have the inherent potential to mean so much more. Why was included? More importantly what was left out and why was this restraint shown?

To conclude I leave you with my piece, a devastating simple affair I feel addresses the very thresholds of English wit and symobolism. The question mark was a nice touch and really holds it all together…

Would you shut the fuck up?


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