Friday, April 18, 2008

There Can Be Only One

Thanks to Rosina Lippi, I've become hooked on One Sentence, a site devoted to telling true stories in one sentence. These extremely short stories range from the funny and silly to the touching and tragic, but most of them share one thing in common: they make an instant connection to the reader.

The one that got me on my first look: As a kid dripping in mud, I couldn’t see why bringing four frogs home in a zip lock bag was bad idea. — Cam. That brought back a lot of memories of my daughter, who never met a reptile she didn't like. After school I used to have to take her lunchbox outside before I opened it, just in case she brought home a new friend.

Novelists are spoiled by the fact that we usually have four or five hundred manuscript pages to tell our stories, so I think this is an excellent writing exercise. Here are a couple of mine:

I couldn't stop CPR long enough to convince one of the morons standing around and watching me to call 911.

It rained on our first date and on the last day of our marriage.

He kept bugging me to sign their stock until he saw that my kid had to hold the pen for me just so I could sign the credit card slip.

All right, you guys, it's your turn -- post your one-sentence story in comments.


  1. I was only four, and the church needed a new maintenance garage anyway.

  2. I thought it was both liberating and depressing when I broke up with him on my birthday.


    When it came to fill out "objective" on my resume, I had no idea what to write.

  3. Angry little girls don't remember how ill their grandmother looked the last time they saw her, they just remember that they'll never now have a chance to say goodbye.

  4. I left my mother’s church when her kindly pastor felt the need to counsel my 18-year old thigh.

  5. This reminds me of something I heard about Ernest Hemingway. Supposedly, he made a bar bet that he could write a story in six words. It was: "For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."

  6. "It is probably entirely theologically possible that the Devil sometimes fuck with rich people too."

    Oh, and may I quote Hemingway? May I? Please? OK!

    "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn".

    It broke my heart to read that one. So much pain in just six words.

    Oh, let's do one more (mine, again):

    "Machetes don't need reloading and works fairly well in dark, claustrophobic tunnels, anyway."

  7. It was a dark and stormy night when I decided I'd had it with hurricanes.

  8. If it was up to me, it would only rain 14.3% of the time.

  9. Here's mine. I didn't know when I told my dad that I loved him that it would be the last time I told him anything.
    The baby shoes by Hemingway was incredibly sad. Thanks for this great exercise.

  10. The quilts that decorated the walls, the unfinished one that lay lonely on the sewing table poked lovingly with a needle, swore silent testimony that her cancer had stolen her life long before it had killed her.

  11. My fiance married my best friend.

  12. the quilt one was mine. I used my roomie's google sign-in (with her permission) because I don't have one :) Forgot to sign it and she never wants to claim my writing :)


  13. I actually had one posted there once! I haven't been able to repeat the feat.

    Here's one:

    As I hauled the last of my stuff from my ex's garage into my car, his girlfriend came out to ask if she could have one of my 5 gallon pails.

  14. A trail of cockroach legs led to the kitchen, where the cat sat licking his chops.

    (That one wasn't fiction, may my mighty bug hunter forever rest in peace)

    "I didn't eat it," smiled the little angel with brown frosted cheeks.

    The young mother wondered where her baby had found fingerpaints, until she saw the abandoned diaper.

  15. You should never tempt a curious toddler with something so amusing as a shiny, metal stick next to the steering wheel while the engine's running.

  16. She used a balled-up tissue from her sleeve to wipe the dripping spout, and now nobody drinks coffee at staff meetings anymore.

  17. The head in the oven au revoir seemed like a good idea at the time, but there he was in the house again with his stinky old cigar, the young girlfriend was outside in the car, and who knows where the gun came from.

  18. After 29 years, I was able to hug my father for the first time and the years of heartache and misery where replaced with love and renewed hope.

  19. Doctors ought to know better than to diagnose a red-headed eight-year-old with leukemia.

    Sorry. That one's true. And of recent vintage. I'll do one a little less ouchie.

    She finally understood how odd her determinedly single life must seem to outsiders when the male prostitute mowing her lawn made her look normal.

    Heh, with very little tweaking, that's actually the first sentence of my current query letter. This is fun!

    I should have known the monsters were coming when the flourescent light over my cubicle flickered.

  20. Pasting a smile on his face as he leaned his rifle against a tree he wondered what kind of fool brings a chrome barrel shotgun on a manhunt?

  21. Am I the only one who thought, "Highlander!" when they saw that title?


    "Being reincarnated isn't worth the bother of the forms."

  22. vanessa jaye, yours was so good! That could be the first line of an excellent story. One I'd like to read, anyway.

  23. There is no one I loathe more than the man with who first fell in love.

  24. This is addictive! Thank you for sharing the site.

    One look into your newborn eyes and you became the most important person in my life.