Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Six-Word Memoir

A good friend recently gave me a copy of the article below that appeared originally in the LA Times.  I thought it might be a fun challenge for regular readers here and at Book Nerds on FaceBook.  So, give it a try. Read the article and then post your own six-word memoir here and/or at Book Nerds. 

From Los Angeles Times
Everyone has a story. That’s the tag on the masthead of SMITH, our online magazine. Yet until we asked the world to send us six-word memoirs, even we had no idea how true is was.

We took a page from Ernest Hemingway. According to legend, he was challenged to write a novel in only six words, and came up with For sale: baby shoes never worn. We posed the same challenge on-line, but we asked for true-life stories – in just half a dozen well-chosen words.

To launch the challenge, we posted examples from names we figured most readers would know such as Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert (Me see world! Me write stories! ) and celebrity chef Mario Batali (Brought it to a boil, often).

More than 15,0000 (and counting) submission later, we are continually struck by what proves possible in just six words. The short, short life stories keep coming in. As we type this, a quick glance reveals that Emily Hambridge “wanted to write but feared failure.” With half a doze words and a few clicks of the keyboard, she’s just rewritten the story of her life.

What’s yours?

Ex-wife and contractor now have house – Drew Peck
Found true love, married someone else – Bjorn Stromberg
Fifteen years since last professional haircut – Dave Eggers
One Tooth, one cavity. Life’s cruel. - John Bettencourt
Must remember: people, gadgets. That order. – Brian Lam
Made a mess. Cleaned it up. – Amy Anderson
Put whole self in, shook about. – Melissa Delzio
My second-grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown
Well, I thought it was funny. – Stephen Colbert
Where the hell are my keys? – Brady Udall
Dad wore leather pants in Reno – John Falk
Secret of life: Marry an Italian – Nora Ephron
Little bit Lucy, tempered by Ethel – Tami Maus
I think, therefore I am bald – Dickie Widjaja
Took scenic route, got in late – Will Blythe
Being a monk stunk. Better gay. – Bob Redman
Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan
Should not have eaten those mushrooms – Emilie Raguso
Was father, boys died, still sad. – Ronald Zalewski
It’s pretty high. You go first. – Alan Eagle
Me: consistently avoiding death since 1978! – Daniel Fowlkes


bekkieann said...

I'll post mine first:

Became an adult. Childhood came later.

Dangerous Meredith said...

I like yours and the last one best. I am trying to think of one but it's too hard...

Michael said...

Flew so high, then I crashed. - Icaraus

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Of course the minute I posted mine on Facebook I thought of others that would be better. They all make such delightful t-shirts.

Latest is take off of t-shirt:

Been there. Done that. Lied Well.

bekkieann said...

I love these. Feel free to submit more than one. Keep thinkng Meredith.

bekkieann said...

I'm finding I'd like to read the long version of the story after reading the six-word version. Fascinating.

Bee's Blog said...

The Cheque is in the Post

Dangerous Meredith said...

you are all so clever. i keep on making them up and deciding that they are either too gloomy or i just then forget them or they turn out to be 8 words instead.

but jacqui's right - these would all look great on a tshirt

heatherbelle said...

Life's a bitch, why aren't I.

bekkieann said...

Good one, Heatherbelle. Quite poignant considering recent events in your life.

Meredith, I've decided even if we can come up with a 6-word memoir, it only describes one aspect of our lives. Mine was on the gloomy side, but my life is far from gloomy. Anyway, you could post several of them.

Dangerous Meredith said...

Brilliant Heatherbelle!

Bee's Blog said...

Are we still posting or has this moved to FB????

bekkieann said...

Some are posting in both places, but preferrably on fb. I just put the long version here as the examples were so good.