Sitting in my lit class last week with a smirk on my face, I was feeling skeptical. The topic was “six-word memoirs,” and I was unsure I was going to be able to write one. Well, one that wasn’t terrible anyway. How in the world are you supposed to tell your life story in six words?
As our professor started reading a few aloud from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, I was pretty amazed at the funny, emotional, sarcastic, and thoughtful content the authors were able to pack into six short words.
- What the hell, might as well.
- Most successful accomplishments based on spite.
- Forgot to say I loved her.
- Oklahoma girl meets world. Regrets it.
- Time to start over again, again.
- Foreign, even to my home country.
- Hard beginning. Harder middle. Happy ending.
- Expected prime rib, ended with hamburger.
“Literary legend” states that Ernest Hemingway was once tasked with writing a short story in only six words. Hemingway’s short story read, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” This one sentence has the ability to send your mind in many different directions. Makes you think, doesn’t it? SMITH Magazine took Hemingway’s accomplishment and ran with it. Today, over 700,000 people have submitted their own short memoirs on SMITH Magazine’s website, Six Word Memoirs. Some of the memoirs on the site are even accompanied by pictures.
This is what I really love about all creative writing. It has the ability to make us think and spark our imaginations– whether we’re writing or reading it. I may take away something that is completely different than the person sitting next to me when we both read the six-word memoir, I don’t nibble, I bite hard. What if this memoir was written a bit differently? I don’t nibble, I bite. Hard. Do you interpret the author’s meaning with a different connotation?
My first try at a six-word memoir went something like this: hope and passion, always a necessity. If you know me personally, this may make sense to you. If you don’t, you may take my thoughts in a completely different direction than the one I was going for. I love that!
I will leave you with a charge to reply and post your own six-word memoir in the comment section below. Here is one of the more thought provoking six-word memoirs that I have read so far to get you going.
I will never be quite finished.