For sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
When I show this to students, they laugh at such a short story. I give them a moment, sometimes saying the story three, four times getting them past their laughter, and they find that it's a tragedy, the kind they can't quite understand yet. As a father, it gets me just a little every time.
The six-word memoirs are poetic, the good ones anyway. I have kids write some and most of them find that one six-word memoir leads to another and another and another. One kid filled five sheets of notebook paper with them. The first three pages weren't really memoirs but then she found the poetry of it and her last couple pages were something special.
I've written a few hundred of them, but this one pretty much sums me up:
Still haven't run out of ink.
I write with fountain pens and have a glass bottle of ink from I refill my pens every third day or so. Then I go on writing. I seem always to keep writing.
For years I ended blog posts with the words write on, a good ending and a way to push myself forward.
These last two weeks I have written a lot. One of my students asked if I run out of ideas, things to write and say. I smiled. It does seem like we would have a limited number of pages within us, but my limit is based on how many I choose to write before I die. He wanted a better answer than that, though, so I told him something like this:
Writing begets writing. One idea creates two more. It's like a nuclear reaction in which splitting one atom releases two particles that split two more nuclei that each release two more particles. And on and on.
I told him that writing about the book I had finished reading led to an idea about Dad which led to thinking about my car which got me to thinking of my turntable and records all of which led to a childhood memory that got me thinking of how my younger daughter wants to buy every book she sees. And on and on.
Yo, he said. That shit's crazy. I write ten words and I'm like done.
I smiled and said, you might be surprised what happens if you keep the pen moving.
We have family in town so I won't be able to write much today though I have half a dozen things ready to write. I'll make notes so as to remember. Later, when I check how much ink is left in my pen, I'll know I've got more ink in the bottle. I still haven't run out of ink. I don't think I ever will.