The 6 Word Story and Minimalism

Photo by Jami Dwyer
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. Ty Brown May 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

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



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