When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. – Luke 2:15-20
The American novelist Ernest Hemingway was renowned for his verbal economy, short words and short sentences. He was once, allegedly challenged to write a story in just six words and this is what he came up with; for sale baby shoes never worn.
An online publication, Smith Magazine recently asked its readers, not for six-word fictions, but for people’s six word autobiographies. A selection has now been published in a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning. The BBC World Service’s weekly writing and literature programme, “The Word,” decided to issue the same challenge to its listeners and was inundated with entries.
Here are but a few of the entries:
• No partner, no pleasure no pain, by Peter Pliesovsky, Prague
• Caught in hell can’t wait heaven, by Pascal, Nairobi, Kenya
• Stormy past steady changes coming out, by Akintayo Ogunsanya, Lagos, Nigeria
• From an influential but selfish family, by Ishmael Bash-Kamara, Sierra Leone
• Blind lawyer knowing loss finds justice, by John Eagen, USA
• Still meet kind strangers thank god, by Bharat Khiani, Maharashtra, India
• Squandered more chances than others get, by Hans Westin, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
• I should have but I didn’t, by Dan Pendick, Milwaukee, USA
2008 BBC World Service – from a segment on The Word
Good news; but if you ask me what it is, I know not;
It is a track of feet in snow,
It is a lantern showing a path,
It is a door set open.
Holy God, Word made flesh,
let us come to this word open to being surprised.
Silence our agendas; banish our assumptions; cast out our casual detachment.
Confound our expectations; clear the cobwebs from our ears;
penetrate the corners of our hearts with this word.
We know that you can, we pray that you will,
and we wait with great anticipation. Amen.
Take time to write your own six-word biography at this moment in time.