Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Story in Six Words

There's a style of writing known as "flash fiction", in which a story is told using a minimum number of words. I've done a little of this, and once write a story with exactly one-hundred words. It was quite a challenge.

The tale (oft repeated, though, according to Wiki, possibly an early urban legend) is told of Hemingway and his friends, sitting around a table and talking about the brevity of his writing style. A challenge was raised. Write a novel in six words. Hemingway's answer: "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

Those six words give very little detail, but they paint a picture of sorrow and loss that is unmistakable. 

As Ryan, Hannah, and I walked through Piedmont Park recently, I noticed a park bench on which a man was seated. As we approached the bench, he stood up and walked away.

When he did, I was reminded of the writing exercise known as "photo writing." In this exercise, you are given a photo and have to write a story around it. 

I looked at the scene before me and speculated that the man had met a woman there every day for the last twenty-five years. Maybe today was the first time he'd ever come to the bench to find it empty. The woman had died and the bench would never be occupied in the same way again. He sat quietly for a few minutes, haunted by the loss, then walked away, never to return.

Hannah and Ryan agreed that was a great exercise, so I mentioned the six-word Hemingway exercise and we pondered the possibilities of combining the two. We decided to write a six-word novel for the man and the bench.

Empty bench. Love gone. Forever lonely.

We speculated on a few six words combos for a while before switching to another topic, but it's left me wondering about how to tell stories in six words. 

This morning, I'm pondering the possibility of telling our life stories with the same brevity.

Here are a few I like:

Broken dreams. Jesus' feet. Sinner redeemed.

Sin's wound. Blood applied. Heart healed.

Promise kept. Peace given. Future heaven.

God loved, gave, forgave, saved, transformed.

"And they overcame him (the accuser of the brethren)  because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony..." Revelation 12:11 nasb

Our witness to the power of Christ in our lives matters more than we realize, for it is a mighty weapon through which we can help to overcome the enemy of our soul. We must have a testimony that is known and ready to be shared.

It might seem like a pointless exercise, but we cannot share our witness to the power of Jesus in our lives if we've never considered it. When I think of the magnitude of the God-story of my own life, I realize it could not be contained by multiple volumes the size of War and Peace.To share it, I have to shorten it.

Whether you realize it or not, you, too, have a God-story that could not be contained by pen and paper. It's too big to tell the whole. To share it, you, too, have to shorten it.

Why not try a few six-word God-stories of your own. I'll be interested to see how you describe your own life in a few words. Is there hurt or sin in your story? Love? Redemption? 

Just six words. Try it and leave a comment below. 
If you've considered participating in the Hosea study, it's not too late to join. Visit http// and get started today!
In case you missed this:
Yesterday's post: The Thanker Job

Tuesday's post: Writing Fiction and Handing Off Pain

Update on the Bible study: 
 My Latest Adventure 
#sixwordnovel #testimony #linesfromleanna