Six Word Story Every Day is ‘a daily storytelling exploration through language and typography’ by a collaboration of artists and designers. When I first saw the concept, it reminded me of Hint Fiction, with a design component. I was delighted to read in the About section that the inspiration was indeed the story which Ernest Hemingway regarded as his best: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” The hint fiction genre was inspired by this story, challenging writers to compile a story in 25 words or less.
The stories compiled in SWSED utilize only six words, with plenty of support from visual elements. One of the requirements of hint fiction is that the story is complete in itself. It should ignite the imagination, but need no further explanation. Although many of the stories in SWSED are more of a phrase or slogan (‘Say something that is worth saying’), the level of creativity makes it a joy to browse through the entries.
Inspired by the NPR broadcast ‘Hint Fiction Celebrates the (Extremely) Short Story’, my father challenged my family to a competition over the holidays. The genre hint fiction is defined by a story of 25 words or less, which stimulates the imagination through its brevity. Take Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story for example. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In the end, five of us participated, anonymously presented our stories, and voted on the favorites.
I imagined a scene taking place on the roads through the mountain pass between the Willamette Valley and the Cascade Mountain Range. Marcus’ story described his morning view on an Amsterdam weekday. My father wrote a mystical tale about time past. My mother wrote about her favorite summer activity, water skiing. My brother found inspiration in murder mystery tales. Below, the stories:
The mountain pass
She turned onto the all but abandoned logging road,
the entrance graced with a worn-down cross staked into the earth.
Her fingers drummed to the beat of the music, turned just a little louder.
Marcus’ winning story:
Dense fog covering the river makes it difficult to see over to the other side.
The start of the week.
My mother’s entry:
An Afternoon of Surface Tension
Strong breeze creates a tangled mane
Nostrils filled with sunshine
Cool mists in rhythmic sprays
That quiets the smiling soul.
My father’s entry:
Below lake waters,
Tossed long ago
Lay ring shining.
Fish fin by, sunlight reflects back
To her hand empty unhealed
It’s giver lay below earthen cover of European war.
My brother’s entry:
Walks on the beach and candlelight dinners and the ad read, but the light kicking in her stomach made her body shake with rage as her fingers tightened around the pistol.