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  #1  
Old 01 March 2008, 05:11 PM
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Icon97 Hemingway story

We kicked this one around a bit on the old board, but I don't know if anyone's found a source for this (in the Hemingway canon or elsewhere):

----------------------------------------------------

Comment: Did Hemingway actually write a short story comprising entirely of
these six words?

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
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  #2  
Old 02 March 2008, 04:10 PM
Insensible Crier Insensible Crier is offline
 
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I can find a lot of stuff referring to it but so far nothing verifing it. I keep finding comments that he wrote it to win a bar bet.
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Old 02 March 2008, 04:39 PM
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I'm not sure that there is an easy way to prove this. It's not outside the realm of possibility that America's original minimalist writer would put together a 6-word "short story" for NFBSKs and giggles, at least, and I believe it's been anthologized. In related news, Wired apparently asked a bunch of well-known literary types to put together their own 6-word short stories...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wired Magazine
Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
- William Shatner

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
- Stan Lee

Machine. Unexpectedly, Id invented a time
- Alan Moore

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
- Margaret Atwood
I think I like Margaret Atwood's the best.
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  #4  
Old 02 March 2008, 07:37 PM
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Hemingway:

Luis walked into the bodega. He sat at the bar.

The bartender came over.

"Do you want to buy some baby shoes?" Luis asked.

"What?" asked the bartender.

"Do you want to buy some baby shoes? They are for sale."

"I have ho baby."

"You are lucky."

"Yes, I am very lucky."

"Do you want to buy these baby shoes?"

"No. Why are you selling them?"

"They have never been worn."

"Why?"

"They are too small for me."

"Otro loco mas," said the barman.

Faulkner

The bar was a light place in the night, small, ineluctable, the distillation of not only misery and its release but also of something tangible, something that Jeeter could smell, the sour hanging tang of bad beer and sorrow smelling just a little of depsair because mostly of failure, regret. Jeeter sat down at the bar, the round stool pressing, thrusting, against his skinny buttocks, the buttocks of a man who does not have big buttocks, because he is of that class of people who in the South do not eat much or regularly, and what they eat is mostly dirt, and he put upon the bar a pair of shoes, small, even diminuitive, yet looking brand-new, unworn. The barman noticed him and came lumbering over, a heavy man, jowly, with eyes that looked like two beer caps pressed deep into the dough of his face, red beer caps that stared out of his face redly, like two scarlet points in the darkness of the bar. "What ya'll want?" the barman said as if not expecting to have whatever it would be that Jeeter called for.

"I reckon I am in the wrong place," Jeeter said with sadness in his voice, a voice rusty as though from disuse, neglect. "I reckon I can't interest you in buying this here pair of baby shoes, on account of you ain't from here."

"I'm from here," the barman said. "I lived here forty year and more, I think I'm qualified to say I'm from here."

"Naw," said Jeeter. "You used 'ya'll' in the singular. You evidently ain't borned here, so I can't interest you in this here pair of baby shoes what ain't never been wore. I'm tryin' to sell 'em. Tryin' to get a stake together so I can buy me a little old dirt farm."

"You ain't gone git much fer a pair of baby shoes," the barman said.

"Hit ain't but six inch square," Jeeter said. "The place I hope to buy."
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  #5  
Old 02 March 2008, 08:02 PM
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Icon07

Sylvia Plath:

I did not expect a miracle
Or an accident

Your adoring eye was the one purely alluring thing
I wanted to fill it with love and crinoline

The gossamer gaze of the classified page
fixes on me, reproachful
White as babies' shoes and glittering with dead breath
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  #6  
Old 03 March 2008, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Slick View Post
It's not outside the realm of possibility that America's original minimalist writer would put together a 6-word "short story" for NFBSKs and giggles, at least, and I believe it's been anthologized.
I checked the Scribner and Random House collections last time around and didn't find it. Haven't looked more deeply into matter since, so I won't stake an elephant tusk on it.
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Old 03 March 2008, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'mNotDedalus View Post
I checked the Scribner and Random House collections last time around and didn't find it. Haven't looked more deeply into matter since, so I won't stake an elephant tusk on it.
Yes, it sounds more to me like this item is a meta-story about Hemingway rather than by him. Here's one example I've found of its purported origins, from someone who was himself a writer:

Quote:
More than thirty years ago, at the beginning of my career, I had lunch with a well-established newspaper syndicator who told me the following story: Ernest Hemingway was lunching at the Algonquin, sitting at the famous "round table" with several writers, claiming he could write a six-word-long short story. The other writers balked. Hemingway told them to ante up ten dollars each. If he was wrong, he would match it; if he was right, he would keep the pot. He quickly wrote six words on a napkin and passed it around. The words were: "For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn." Papa won the bet: His short story was complete. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end!
- snopes
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