Friday, December 28, 2007

After Hemingway

In the months since I completed work on my forthcoming novel, Serious Things, I have been writing a collection of very short stories. One of these, 'The Siren of May', was broadcast on BBC Radio 3; another, 'Stills from the Anthropocene Era', appeared in a pamphlet produced at the Camp for Climate Action in the summer.

The longest of the 42 stories is about 850 words long; many are much shorter. Halfway through the collection, however, are 42 more stories that take my mania for brevity to extremes. Their model and inspiration is a boast from Ernest Hemingway that he could tell a story in only six words. It went like this: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Knowing full well that there is no market for six word stories, I'd like, over the coming weeks, to post mine here. Starting with this select handful:

Christ returned unknown to his executioners.
He let everyone fry: got re-elected.
The identity thief struck by Alzheimer's.
Carbon reabsorbed. Overdid it. Fucked again.
Fearing heartbreak, she died a spinster.
Men, women, children, wept. God slept.
Mirrors, not arrows, killed the Minotaur.
Ulysses, home at last, felt restless.
We found a hedgehog: played football.


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