Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Six Of The Best

Was listening to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning whilst frantically trying to get ready for work, so I didn't quite hear all of it, only snatches in between frenzied showering and hair drying activity. Late, late, late as usual. There was a feature about Ernest Hemingway, how he'd been challenged by some guy in a bar or somewhere to write a short story in six words. He came up with:

"For sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

He won the bet.

Despite the fact that I was hopping round the bedroom trying to get my other boot on whilst simultaneously scrabbling in my bag for my car keys, those six words spoke to me with far more impact than maybe thousands more could have done. The poignancy of them stopped me in my tracks. Who would have thought that so few words could give the lead to however many stories the reader is capable of imagining? By the time I actually got to the office I'd got the bare bones of a story in my mind and was just coming to the reason why those baby shoes had never, in fact, been worn. And believe me, it was sad.

So this story had become the idea behind another challenge (this time from the editor of Smith, the American on-line magazine) when writers were invited to create a memoir in the same way, in just six words. There were a few featured on the programme which I found amusing, depressing, clever or just terribly sad. The best were selected to appear in Smith's book "Not Quite What I Was Planning - Six Word Memoirs From Writers Famous and Obscure."

So, having arrived late at the office because I'd been spellbound by a radio feature, at coffee time I told my colleagues about it and before long, we had:

"Divorced Mum, Only Loved One Man."

"Taught Dancing, Got Married, Grew Up."

"Took Wrong Turn. Can't Go Back"

Revealing, huh?


Now I'm not suggesting we all want to bare our souls here, unless anyone really wants to, but it did occur to me that this was something which might appeal to some of us, to write six words which best describes our lives up until this point. If you fancy giving it a whirl, please feel free to write what best describes you on my comment page. I'll start you off with mine.


"Could not? Did not. Why not?"


Fancy giving it a go? Go on then.

55 comments:

Expatmum said...

Agh - yours is what I would have said if I had the creativity. Mine is:
Living in Chicago - how'd that happen?

I know, not really six words but it sounds like six!

Kaycie said...

Married and failed, loved and succeeded.

laurie said...

wow. i like that.

Feared dogs, then I got one.

Sweet Irene said...

Manic depressive, stuck in one mood.

MZUNGU CHICK said...

"Where do I go from here?"

- thought that line kind of sums up my whole life perfectly. - By the way, any answers to my question most gratefully received. :-)

Maggie May said...

Tried, tried, tried & tried again!

belle said...

Should not have signed the forms.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

First reaction -

Manic Mother of Five - Happy As!

Flutterby said...

Those are good! How about...

Lived a lot, lots to live.

knifepainter said...

After a bit of thought;

Doing it my way, any-way.

travelling, but not in love said...

Can I do it in five? if so, then it really has to be...

"travelling, but not in love"

or is that a cop-out?

travelling, but not in love said...

"find love. run. find love. run."

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Ooh, this is fun. I'll be back.

Now thinking hard.

Expatmum said...

To follow on from mzungu chick - what was that song (80's)

Where do we go from here?
Is it down to the lake I fear?
Aye aye aye aye aye ayyyye
aye aye aye aye aye aye aye ayyyye.

Can't remember the group (Haircut 100 perhaps) but it was good to dance to.

oestrebunny said...

My life, is ruining my life.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Seeking truth, strong friendships, feeling passionately

She's like the wind said...

Sorry I'll come back with mine, unless insiration hits me before I finish - Expatmum - the song is, I'm sure, called 'Fantastic Day' if that's not the title, then it definately had those words in it!

'ray an a ray and a ray an a
love, love, love plus one......
Faaaaantaaaastic Dayayay'

Away to look for inspiration....

She's like the wind said...

Ok

Only child becomes mother of two!

x

Cath said...

Daughter of Eve, mother of angels.

:0)) xx

Swearing Mother said...

I am SO enjoying this, you are all brilliant.

More, more, more.....

Norman said...

One I read somewhere, needed a bit of religion, a bit of sex and a mysterious ending.

"My God!
I'm pregnant!!
Guess who???

Suzy said...

I'm where I'm supposed to be.

Fantastic post!!!


Love,
Suzy

Expatmum said...

Oh to be able to say "I'm where I'm supposed to be" - love that one suzy. Half the time I don't know where I've just come from!

Suzy said...

To Expatmum

It's only recently I've been able to say it, let alone believe it.

Suzy

The Grocer said...

I'm thinking about mine but in the meantime one for all the ladies:

Who drew lines on my face?

CrazyCath said...

Hello again SM-

Started my own blog. Not as good as yours but learning. Have a look!

http://crazycath.blogspot.com

:0)

advocate said...

How about:-

"I'm coming back as a man!"

Norman said...

Hey advocate, I'm coming back as a woman!
Perhaps we all change sex with each incarnation. Interesting thought.

Swearing Mother said...

I am truly amazed at how this six word memoir thingy is working - every single one of the entries here really does say what the writer is about more than I would ever have expected.

Thanks so much for your input everyone, please feel free to carry on, this is SO intriguing.....

The Rotten Correspondent said...

award for you, on my blog...

grit said...

Offered for exchange: Disappointment. Resentment. Grudge.

Wanted, immediate occupancy. 1 bed flat.

Tiger, put the puffin down. Now.

debio said...

What a post, sm.

This is not my final thought but will do for starters;

Touched the unloveable, love the untouchable.

These previous comments have to be the best set of comments ever!

Swearing Mother said...

RC: Thanks for the MWAH! Right back at'cha.

I am so thrilled.

xx

You are not wrong Debio, I am seriously impressed.

Iota said...

Expatmum - I never did understand those Lake lyrics. Can you shed some light? And yes, it was the gorgeous Haircut 100.

SLTW, I thought it was "ring anna ring anna ring anna ring anna ring" - but I'm happy to be corrected on that one. But I am right on this: Fantastic Day, and Love Plus One were two separate songs. I think the Lake bit and the ring anna bit come from Love Plus One. I loved that group. I had a calendar of them.

For my 6 words I wrote "stuck in the bloody Midwest forever" - but that's just because I've got a cold and I'm having a bad day.

GoneBackSouth said...

Okay, here I go:

"Hopes, regrets, halfway or new 30?"

GoneBackSouth said...

Or, "Mummy maybe, but who am I?"

Norman said...

Grey day,
Grey hair,
Me too!

Swearing Mother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valleys Mam said...

sighed smiled sobbed shook stiffened shone

Valleys Mam said...

was going to give u the excellence award but you have it -keep on trucking :>)

Pam said...

I loved this post! The baby shoes words have stuck with me for days.

Here's mine:

Happy, lucky, content, grateful. Yet homesick

belle said...

You've already got this but I'm giving you another, swing by mine and pick up your award :o)

Tina said...

That's such a good post, SM. My 6 words are quite simple.

I wish it had been different

She's like the wind said...

Hi Iota, I stand corrected, these were the words that flowed to mind. Could very well have been ring anna ring etc etc. It's funny when you're young you just make your own words up and they stick.

Sweet Irene said...

"Wanted: Cognitive brain, easy does it!"

travelling, but not in love said...

I keep coming back to read what other people have posted here - this is such a great idea, SM, well done for getting us all thinking.

You know that there's a great basis for a book / column just in the selection from your fans here.

My favourite? I love Tina's 'I wish it had been different' - how gloriously melancholy is that?

TBNIL

Mid-lifer said...

Nominated you for another award!

Richard Madeley said...

I can't choose. I've done so much in my life:

'The sexiest guy in the UK.'

'Granada Reports, This Morning, Channel 4.'

'Shamelessly working towards my own canonisation.'

'Forming the Richard&Judy World Domination Club.'

'You pay, we play, we rich.'

Ms Wiz said...

Always looking for the next thing ...

I am not sure that conveys it I may come back & refine it.
Excellent idea!

Winchester whisperer said...

Pimms, partying, punting, pain, perseverance, phlegmatism.

Kaycie said...

Hey there. MMOF just left a comment saying you'd like an invite to my blog. Very cool.

Send a message to me through my profile or at kc10867 at yahoo dot com.

If there were an e-mail on your profile, you would have already had one, dear.

Swearing Mother said...

Blimey, I'm leaving this post until we all get fed up with it or we reach 100, whichever is sooner.

You guys are incredible.

MZUNGU CHICK said...

You have an award over at my other blog. Please swing by sometime and pick it up. :0)

You've already got it but most definitely deserve another!

As for '6 of the best', I'll add on for the 100! I'm going with;

You've just got to look forward !!

Maggie May said...

Please accept your award from my post!

Swearing Mother said...

Well, what can I say? The response to this post has been absolutely fantastic, so thank you all very much.

Please feel free to carry on if you want to post your six word memoir, I'll keep coming back to check. I've really enjoyed this and hope you have too.

Thanks so much for playing!

x