Flash Fiction, Molière and Hemingway.
I’ve discovered I may be writing Flash Fiction without even knowing about it, in the Molière sense:
Only my hack-work is a lot more self-contained. When I write a book, it’s not the deliberate development of a plot or a story line, so much as, I write each chapter independently of the others, only the characters and the worlds are the same. What I’ve been writing, in fact what I’ve been writing for the last twenty years, are a series of comic adventures in different genres and all of them involve a hero beset or at war with the universe. I really have no idea how each book is going to end; in fact, I have no idea how each paragraph is going to end. Par ma foi!
This brevity of wit made me wonder about Hemingway’s shortest story, which is so famous, that if you haven’t heard about it you must have just discovered literature in the last five minutes – think about that one, gentle reader. I pondered if I could write an even shorter one. Hemingway’s story is very simple with a twist, which is obvious on reflection:
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
I think Hemingway could have written an even shorter story, note - only Hemingway could have written this and noting he blew his brains out with his favorite twelve-gauge Boss shotgun:
“For sale: gun.”
Of course, Hemingway's is more encapsulated and universal, you don't need to know anything more than the line he wrote. But I think there is one that works.
"For sale: baby."
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