Sonia Farmer, Prose Editor of tongues of the ocean and Publisher of Poinciana Paper Press, sent out this call for six-word stories to be published by her press:
“That They May Learn Our Language: Six Word Stories from the Caribbean”
It is said that Hemingway considers his best work a story that he wrote in just six words in response to a challenge by a colleague: “For sale: baby shoes. Never used.” Writers constantly challenge themselves to say the most they can in the briefest of sentences. There have been entire contests devoted to stories told in just six words, entire anthologies of six-word memoirs or six word stories from individual groups of people. These stories are tiny testaments to the individual, fleeting human experience. Now, it is our turn.
The title is part of a quote from Christopher Columbus upon “discovering” the people in new world of the Caribbean islands – “If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highness when I depart, in order that they may learn our language.” Now, we turn this phrase on its head; we take back the history of our language.
By gathering together brief, beautiful stories in different voices and even in different languages, each story becomes a piece of a larger, complex, fragmented identity of what it means to “be Caribbean” and “live an island life.”
If you would like to contribute, please send up to five six-word stories to firstname.lastname@example.org, to the attention of Sonia Farmer. Please include the stories in the body of the e-mail, rather than in an attachment. Please also include a very brief biography and where you are from. Since The Caribbean consists of many dialects and languages, feel free to write your stories in dialect, however if your stories are in entirely different languages (Spanish, French, Creole), please also include an English translation (both will be printed).