All in good time

Take our six-word story challenge

By: Nicola Robey,   2 minutes


Take a weight off, kick back and wallow in the throes of your thoughts for a while. Go on. I dare you.

Taking time. It’s something that we’re quite reluctant to do. Either that or it’s a pass time that we feel a gut wrenching guilt about investing ourselves in. Yet, from the food we pluck from supermarket shelves, to the deadlines that hit our desks, almost every facet of our lives is consumed with an anxious need to do things faster.

But when exactly did we all start having to do everything with such velocity? And whatever happened to the mastery of the slow?

If you’ve recently taken a step back and really churned over how impatient we all generally seem, with, well everything, you may well be an ally of the Slow Movement.

In October the Stranger Collective team IS taking part in a morning workshop as part of a day-long celebration of looking at our aversion to spending seemingly surplus seconds . It’s called Seeking Slow, a day where imaginations will be stirred up, senses will be stoked and thoughts will be digested.

In preparation for our workshop, I decided to take a Feed exploring the art of ‘slow words’. We’re not talking slurred speech, or dry rhetoric that has the same soporific effect as the lettuce in Mr McGregor’s garden. I’m talking about words that have been painstakingly considered. Words that have been nurtured, pruned, plucked and pondered upon, for hours.

Taking one of my favourite quotes as inspiration for this week’s Feed, from the astute lips of Mark Twain,  ‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’ This sums up nicely just how valuable stewing over words can be.

It’s not a revelation that saying less often means more. But how much less? How about if you limit yourself to only six words, how much can less really mean then?

The answer is, a heck of a lot.

Take Ernest Hemingway’s infamous six word story as an example:

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

Powerful, intriguing and fleetingly short. So much so, that Hemingway even claimed himself that it was the most accomplished work he’d ever produced.

The construction of six word story lends itself in an almost serendipitous union to the Slow Movement. And so I took my Feed, chewing, churning and digesting my own six word stories.

Taking random stimulus as my starting points, I played with language, spent hours ruminating, thinking and scribbling out. Like forming a witty strapline, or devising the name of a product,  it was liberating that something so short had so much thought invested in it.

And so, here are four of the fruits of my labour – see if you can guess what the object inspiration behind them was:

Left meets right against cold front.

We’ve staunched the flow, Doctor said.

Down a bit, chest hair spills.

Fly buzzes to get teeth biting.


Fancy writing a six word story for yourself? Tweet them to us @strangerfeed

For more information about Seeking Slow or our morning Feed workshop, email [email protected]

Illustration by Jonathan Quintin 

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