Word Economy (The Redux)

By now, you may have heard the news. Deeper Story, the site where I've been a contributor and editor for nearly four years, is shutting down. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. Death is a natural part of living. In any event, I've been combing my Deeper Story archives and I ran across this little piece. It was first published in June of 2011, but the thoughts still apply. Do you like Hemingway? Then read on.


I’ve been playing with words and thinking about word economy.  The word economy is in a bear market, I think.  We say so little with so many words.  I am a regular offender.

Earnest Hemingway was masterful. He once wrote an entire short story with 6 words.  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  Some consider it his most complete work.  Let’s be honest, those people must not have read The Sun Also Rises.

It only took Yahweh 212 words to create the entire universe, if you read the New International Version, that is.  He did so much with so little.  Best I can tell, it only took him 18 words to decide that woman was a good idea, and he molded her form with speechless precision.  Sometimes the best works are done without words.

Jesus unfolded a Samaritan whore’s entire story in 36 words.  “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”  It wasn’t quite Hemingway, but then again, Hemingway never walked on water now did he?  Jesus spoke with precision and offered the Samaritan woman the formula for living water.  She drank.

Words carry such power.  Words reveal.  Words evoke.  Words heal.  Let’s use them well.


In this month's Tiny Letter (my monthly newsletter), I'm discussing the idea of resting  within church practices. There, I'm speaking candidly about some recent changes in the Haines' household, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Sign up to read along!

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The Great Despiser

Joe Pug

Hey little brother did you hear I made it back to town? I'm getting sober, there's some things I've got to figure out. I saw the station and the light we used to run around. I could've sworn that there were things I used to care about.

"There's a gap the size of a hundred empty gin bottles between August 2012 and September 2013," I tell them. "There are seasons you can't get back." It's a ginger beer evening for me at George's Majestic Lounge; Jesse and John sip Shiner.

"I don't suppose I know what to do with that," I say, "but I'm ready to crawl out."

I spill the confession across the small round table, and an uncomfortable silence settles in. These days, I'm prone to this kind of lumbering conversation with friends. There is no delicate way to seek validation in a bar.


Follow me over to A Deeper Story for the rest of The Great Despiser.

Double Feature

Visit me today as I am at 2--COUNT 'EM TWO--venues!


Finally brothers (and sisters; apologies to the egalitarians in the room), whatever is true...

There is a old trunk in Erika's house. It sits in front of her couch, been used as a coffee table for as long as I have known her. In 2011 I sat on that trunk and confessed cynicism...

Continue reading at Deeper Story. Photo by ben.chaney.

Part II

Visit me at Tweetspeak Poetry as I give the Top 10 picks of the week. It's Ezra Pound, Martian poetry, and #6wordshort stories today! Need to jump-start your creativity? Take a look!

Photo by Claire Burge.

The Robe Upon My Back

Today, I'm writing over at Deeper Story, where I write: My running was not unique, really. I fiercely declared my independence, shook my fist and said "I'll show them!" I could list the litany of sins here, but sometimes I wonder if there are secrets best not splayed across the internet, at least not today. But the specifics aren't important.

Continue reading at Deeper Story to see just how I incorporate this song by Jordan Hurst (and go buy it)...