Ernst Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. He wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Legend has it that Hemingway called it his best work. Hemingway’s story spawned the six word story popularized by Smith Magazine which celebrates personal storytelling. Editors asked their readers to submit six word memoirs of their life and were mesmerized with the offerings, some of which follow:
“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends.”
“Love me or leave me alone.”
“I still make coffee for two.”
“Hockey is not just for boys.”
“I like big butts, can’t lie.”
“Should never have bought that ring.”
“Ex-wife and contractor now have house.”
Steven Pinker’s six word memoir published in Smith Magazine’s book “Not Quite What I Was Planning” reads: “Struggled with how the mind works.” His memoir inspired me to request my seminar and Think Tank participant’s to voluntarily write six word stories on certain subjects. The results have been humorous and edifying. Following are some of the six word responses describing being involved with innovation.
They asked. I thought. I created.
Ideas; I get them in excess.
Look at it from different perspectives.
How would a child do this?
Successful when ignoring what happened before
Made many mistakes before I succeeded
Followed logic, not intuition, never again
I’m enjoying even this horrific problem
Doing more for less is creativity
In and out of many ideas
Others quit early. I continue looking.
Time to start over again, again
To succeed, learn how to fail.
Work but spend time doing nothing.
I am still not seeing everything.
Approach problems on their own terms.
Many bad before one good idea.
Think about it in a different way.
Always work on the next idea.
Left brain job, work right brain.
The proof is in the pudding.
Here are some six word responses describing creative inspiration.
Last night confused. Slept. Morning. Eureka!
Dancing with ideas of infinite possibilities.
Think, dream, persevere, gain new perspectives.
Ideas have sex in my imagination
Took rocks, pounded them into sculptures.
Find great ideas in what’s discarded.
Connect the unconnected to create ideas.
I am trying in every way.
Waiting quietly for that special thought.
Bring it to a boil, often.
Tombstone won’t say did not try.
I learned to expect the unexpected.
Learn to color outside the lines.
I’m not afraid of problems anymore.
Learn to be tolerant of ambiguity.
Learn to make the familiar unfamiliar.
What six-word memoir represents your life?