You think you know a person, right. And then she pulls some random shit like this on you.
What is happening right now. You’d like to know. I bet.
You think you know yourself.
You think you know all there is to know inside what you already know and then you got comfortable there.
I’d like to disrupt you for a second, babe, if that’s cool. Because while you are warm and snuggled there in the chaise lounge corner of your punchy Ikea Nockeby sectional, your mind is getting dull and your face is pulling sunken and your beautiful, beautiful wild spirit is growing stupid-restless.
I hate to be the one to tell you this but: this relationship is getting tired. The one you used to have with your writing, your passion, your craft, your art, your thing, your muse. It’s on autopilot and you are coasting, throwing up some staleness on Facebook hoping no one really minds.
Here’s what: We mind.
We can’t go on like this. It’s not fair to you or to me or to our readers or to our clever, cunning, stealth juicy bits.
Obviously, we need us some sex. (What? . . . Was that not obvious?) And not the robotic kind either where you are lying there thinking about which boots to pair with what sweater when this is all well and buttoned-up.
“If only I could feel about sex as I do about writing! That I’m the vehicle, the medium, the instrument of some force beyond myself.” Susan Sontag
We need good sex. With writing. That feels. Like SPARKS, man.
Intense, decadent, dark, raw and just enough hard work to make it worth your valuable time.
And I would like to give it to you. (glad you got off the Nockeby?)
In six delicious little words.
I’m freshly obsessed with the six word story and I highly recommend you rip your heart out trying to master them, too. They are the sharpest, tightest, most maddening trick to pull off and I can’t stop. If you follow me on Instagram (@glorybegin – come play :) ), you know this in all of its slim-twisted gloom. (IG friends: thank you endless for the affection, by the way, it means the world to me and my little stories.)
These tiny beasts are the perfect challenge for sharpening your skills as a writer, a thinker, a warrior on the page. A killer six word story slams you fully awake.
They also come with a warning: lazy six word stories do nothing to advance the craft and everything to set us all back thousands of years culturally. Please remember the magnitude of this kind of pressure before you publish one.
Six words are tough as nails. That’s why you want to play with them.
“You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of the fullness.” Anais Nin
You have to get so deep into a feeling that you can taste the tension clutching at your throat. You have to catch your own breath and then manage to carve it onto the page like tattooing a six-headed-monster before you exhale.
The words must be perfect. They must be razor. They must be clever and ripping and devastating.
They have to cut something open in you. Otherwise it won’t work.
The thought of creating a six word story should disturb you, it should drive you mad finding the right words.
Conflict and mystery and a hint at (on average) five different meanings is ideal. If you can throw some stuff down that makes you physically ache, NOW you are getting somewhere. It should stretch you, challenge you, trip you up and cause you to seriously question your ability to perform. Anything.
It’s learning to dance on a pinhead: that dexterous, that piercing.
It requires practice.
The most challenging part of my daily meditation practice is to pay attention to exactly how it is for me in the present moment. If I’m frustrated: what is the frustration like? Instead of avoiding it, I look directly into it. How does the frustration physically feel inside my body? What are the sensations? Where are they?
Six word stories are a mindfulness practice for writers. They are an exercise in becoming fully aware of and allowing every wanton thought and emotion to be exactly as it is. How they drip, how they stab, how they punish, how they liberate.
For every six word story I publish I have likely written 10 (okay: 20) that are sloppy and weak. Most six word stories, like most writing, are boring, robotic sex. Ink hits the page but the page is wondering which boots to wear with what sweater when this is all over (there now: full circle. clever minx).
There is a place inside of each of us that is so fragile it will shatter if we breathe crooked. Out of sheer fear for our emotional survival, mere mortals avoid getting naked in this place.
But artists don’t. That’s what makes artists brave. And catlike. And sexy.
The fragile place is where we have to get to make this good, to make it real, to make it work.
In six words, shatter yourself completely into bits. Be emotionally slung out into orbit so that everything looks newer, grander, brighter, more promising.
Because if we aren’t giving our beloved writing craft our full unblinking attention: what else is there? In art? In sex? In life? In breathing?
Sometimes when I’m clawing at the mind fibers to get to the perfect word, I can hear my muse saying: I’ve got you – but you’ve got to pay the fuck attention, babe.
And she’s right. We only get one shot at this. This moment, this feeling, this story, this life. We only get six words to make it sharp, to make it real, to make it worth it.
Great writing is born in the rare slender space where we become acutely aware of our mortality and our divinity at the same time. It’s erotic because it’s where the two worlds – that of flesh and that of soul – undress before one another.
It’s the colliding of two recklessly curious galaxies that can no longer keep away from each other. The slamming in your heart, the throbbing in your veins, it’s the cosmic mingling of alien limbs across the universe.
Writing is the creation story happening right between your goddamn fingers.
Make it good.
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P.P.S. Are you a creative type? Yeah, me too. :) That’s why I designed an original audio series just for artists with serious soul and passion. It’s called Beginner’s Luck: 7 Ways the Beginner’s Mind Makes Better Art and it is here. If you want to uncover the full richness of your unique creativity, I guarantee: this will help you rock out with your absolute best stuff yet. You ready, babe? Awesome, let’s roll.
All photography my own.