Not Bird nor Plane… · 12 May 2018

Santa Claus Arrives by Tweber1
licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I love a parade. They are so much fun. At least when there are marching bands. I am not so much into floats and dignitaries and such, but I love the marching bands. Still, there is something about parades that I enjoy even when there are not that many bands. And even when those parades do not include any of my children. I like those big balloon characters in the big parades.

I do not know of any big parades coming up. I was just thinking of parades because of a #SixWordStory prompt on Twitter. The prompt was: favorite parade character. Well, with only six words, I either go to pop culture and stereotypes or I cheat (usually with just one extra word). You need to do one or the other with six word stories. Or at least I do. And I usually do the first method. For how can you tell a story in six words without some common background? You cannot. Unless, of course, you are telling it to specific people who have something specific in common. Those inside-joke people. Which means a story to the world in six words or less (or more if you are a cheater) means that you need to use pop culture references or stereotypes.

Unless I am doing something wrong. Which is entirely possible.

(I know I have written about six word stories before. They are quite fun. And I have enjoyed writing them many days of the week. After all, they are good kickstarters for my writing. Even when I do not completely follow the rules and use more words than I am supposed to. But back to the story.)

In the case of favorite parade characters, I chose two characters. But I could not just say who those characters were. I had to tell a story. Unfortunately, pop culture was not kind in providing six word answers to my problem. After all, “Not bird nor plane nor even frog…” would be the perfect six word story, except that it is seven words. I did not cheat this time. I even shortened the phrase to five words. People who ever watched any seventies TV would know the whole lead in to the show. “Not bird nor plane nor even frog, it’s just little ole me… Underdog.” Which is way longer than six words. But like I said, I think I nailed it with just five words. “Not bird, plane, nor frog…”

My story for a second character was a movie reference. “He’s just a nice man dressed up in a red suit.” Which is also more than six words. So I shortened it to “… a nice man in a red suit.” Which is seven words. (Also more than six.) Like I said, sometimes I cheat on those six word story prompts. At any rate, I love seeing Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street. She is so convinced that the nice man in the red suit is not Santa Claus, even though he really is. So anybody who read my answer to the prompt and also saw the movie would know that my six word (seven word) story was about Santa Claus. Which is the point. You are supposed to know the whole story after just reading the six (or seven) words. Thus the hashtag #SixWordStory.

I am glad that there are folks out there giving #SixWordStory prompts. They remind me that writing needs to speak to the audience. And in the case of the favorite parade character, it reminded me of childhood and parades. I love parades. And even if there are no bands, I still like Santa Claus and little ole Underdog.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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