I feel like I’m seeing 6 word stories everywhere now. I sent my Hemingway book back to the library before the idea of boiling it down to 6 word stories came up. But one of the stories that stood out for me was “The Battler,” which is available online. The key turning point in the tale was when the crazy ex-boxer asks to see Nick’s knife:
“Let me take your knife, Nick,” he said.
“No, you don’t,” the negro said. “Hang onto your knife, Mister Adams.”
There we have two six word sentences, an exchange that shifts Ad Francis from jovial to dangerous. I found a knife on the Noun Project and put it together with the two quotes in Illustrator. Then I slapped them on the front and back of a Cafe Press shirt.
I kinda like it. People would get that there’s a cryptic meaning to it, but most wouldn’t place the quotes.
I love this, the idea of the boxer losing it on a dime was what really intrigued me about that story, as it did most of the students. The racial language was heard to read, and the questions around incest were fascinating, and in Hemingway fashion only alluded to. Hemingway is really one big allusion to a story he’lll never tell you—more and more the art of not telling the story comes to define him. But the emptiness is rich.
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