A Six Word Story’s Adolescence by Jeffrey H Toney, PhD

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A Six Word Story’s Adolescence

It was a strange, beautiful birth. From more than a million possibilities, six awkward words somehow found each other to tell the tiniest tale ever told. It could have been providence, it could have sprung from passion’s spark, or it could have been just dumb lazy luck born from a drunken haze. Admittedly, my lilliputian tale crouched in the imposing shadow of Hemingway’s baby shoes, never worn, whose six words piqued, prodded and delighted dreamers.

My sextet Epiphany took her first unsteady steps, sliding on a slippery slope just outside her crib, gleaming ceramic tiles adorned with Eeyore, Piglet and Pooh. Behold her little self:

Shards of doubt coalesce. Beautiful opalescence.*

Doubt seeps into dreary days, hastily scribbled notes in bottles cast on ice-cold oceans, seeking a warm home on distant shores.  Honeyed crepuscular rays burst through cumulus spider webs when long lost partners unite, a gleaming kaleidoscope casts upon her cheek now with an irrepressible impish grin, her tumescent goose bumps slay doubt, spreading joy.

*Previously published in Crack The Spine, Issue 141


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Dr. Toney has published scientific peer-reviewedarticles, news media opinion pieces as well as short fiction stories in O-Dark-Thirty, the literary journal of The Veterans Writing Project, The East Coast Literary Review and in Crack The Spine.  Recently, he was nominated for a PushcartPrize for his 100 word story, “The Quiet Raspberry Wormhole” published by Crack The Spine.  He serves as Provost and Vice Presidentfor Academic Affairs at Kean University. He volunteers and fundraises for charities such as Music For Relief,founded by Linkin Park, and the RFK Center for Human Rights.  He serves on the Steering Committee of theScience and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS).  You canfollow him on Twitter @jefftoney, read his blog on The Huffington Post( and listen to his podcast about how anyone can contribute to human rights issues onTalk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria (

[Jeffrey Toney (r) with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda (l) at Relief Live, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Music For Relief at LA River Studios (November 14, 2015).  Music for Relief has raised over $7 million for survivors of multiple disasters across four continents including Hurricane Katrina, China’s Wenchuan earthquake, a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan in 2010, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; see:]



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