The 6 Word Story and Minimalism

Photo by Jami Dwyer

Photo by Jami Dwyer

By Josh Rueff on May 16, 2013

This excerpt from my journal helps illustrate the characteristics of the 6 word story with a comparison to memory:

It was in coastal Yokosuka – a fog-swirling morning after rain. A ghostly light, like a gray halo, was edging over the line on the dark blue Pacific. Salt burns in open wounds, but the taste reminds me of night in the sea of islands; dark nights with no light, waves smacking angrily at the RIB, shark fins cutting and waiting as the little war-boat skipped from wave to wave. Rotor wash tore at the edge of my skin; the taste was salt and sandpaper, and the sound was deafening.

Memories like these are simple, but the simplicity doesn’t cripple it’s beauty. It enhances it.

The 6 word story is similar to my memories; I only remember glimpses of the past, but those brief flashes recreate the entirety of the moment – in one split second I recall tastes, touch, sounds, sights, thrill, fear, exhilaration, and more.

Much like a split second memory, a 6 word story captures as much content as it can in the shortest time possible.

Perhaps the most well known 6 word story is Hemingway’s:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

This is a tough act to follow, but I want to try to summarize minimalism into a 6 word story – not just minimalism – minimalism in literature, in music, art, and lifestyle.

Here’s what I wrote:

6 Word Story of Minimalism in Literature

Verbosity obsolete: Simplicity and realism merge.

6 Word Story of Minimalism in Art

War against Abstract Expressionism, reduction prevails.

Minimalism in Music: The 6 Word Story

Underground response to minimalist art; offshoot.

Minimalism in Lifestyle: The 6 Word Story

 Simplicity overthrows materialist and consumerist oppression.


  1. Is “For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn” one of Hemingway’s? That’s powerful.

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