In the Introduction, the editors relate the legend of how the short-short story came to be. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was called out in a bar bet to write a novel in six words. True or not, the story is heart-breaking: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
There are plenty more like this in It All Changed in an Instant. Like the title says, both the famous and the not-so-famous have contributed stories to this project. Some of my favourites include:
Said vagina more than necessary. Vagina. -Sarah Silverman
Mommy, why won’t Daddy wake up? -James DiGiovanna
I’m from Flint. You are, too. -Michael Moore
Said I walked into wall. Lied. -Julianne Pepitone
The challenge of reducing a life down to just a few words is an interesting one. You really have to think about which experiences impacted you most. It’s actually a fun tool for personal reflection. I came up with a couple over breakfast and posted them online to SMITH Magazine’s website.The magazine has so far received more than 250, 000 six-word memoirs from the community of storytellers who have signed up at SMITHMag.net and SMITHTeens.com. Many of these stories have ended up in one of their collections.