In a time before Mark Zuckerberg gave us all statuses to update, my friend Amy very generously gave me a book that she had just bought in New York called ‘Not quite what I was planning’ – edited by Smith Magazine. From Deepak Chopra to Joan Rivers, the book is a collection of assorted six word memoirs. In the introduction it talks about the literary myth of Ernest Hemingway being challenged to write a story in only six words. He came back with ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ A+ Mr Hemingway.
I became fascinated with the idea of compact story telling. Each word having to earn a place in the sentence. It’s every word’s ballet recital when there is only a few dancers. So I started writing mini stories. Compulsively. It’s funny that what at first seems constricting can become so liberating. And when you start viewing the world through ‘single sentence story ‘ glasses, they really are everywhere. Here are a handful of them. Most of these are way more than six words and commas are very much my bffs. Also, each story stands entirely independent of the next. Also, if someone gave me a time machine for Valentines Day, I would use it to go back and take status updating to authors like Sylvia Plath. Now that would be some good reading.
-As I bought a pair of socks from the man with four thumbs, I thought about that fact that you and I both love Maltabella and for one tiny moment, the world made sense.
-I knew my parent’s moving day wasn’t going well when my brother sent me a text that said ‘Mom just asked me to dig up Granny. Very not cool.’
-The car, sprawled awkwardly, skin pulled off and spine ripped out. The paramedics, smoking cigarettes, amble, glass crunching underfoot. Disappointed by death. As useless as water-wings after the body has gone blue.
-As I swallowed the last bite, I suddenly realised it wasn’t chicken.
-I am retiring from the job of loving you.
-She cut it open and peeled it off. Her skin. It came away not as she expected, oozing and pusing like melting cheese. But like silk off curves, after dinner, before the love-making.