Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a...more
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My Review: Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.
When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way, too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, ...more
Disclaimer: Who cares?
The 6-word experiment produced some interesting results. See below:
Danced in Fields of Infinite Possibilities.
Boy, if I had a hammer.
After Harvard, had baby with crackhead.
Born in the desert, still thirsty.
No future, no past. Not lost.
Fourteen years old, story still untold.
One long train ride to darkness.
Stranded by ten-thousand-mile crush.
Oldest of five. Four degrees. Broke.
Made a mess. Cleaned it up.
My family i ...more
The stories they (briefly) told were philosophical:
"Afraid of everything. Did it anyway." Ayse Erginer
"Found great happiness in insignificant details." Alisdair McDiarmid
"Started small, grew, peaked, shrunk, vanished." George Saunders
"Followed rules, not dreams. Never again." Margaret Hellerstein
A little rough around the edges.
My conscience: brought to you by…
Dear mom, how is your cell?
I love god. Love me more.
I wonder what my cat’s doing.
What’s broken can always be rebuilt.
I am not quite there yet.
Would you like fries with that?
When do I get to leave?
Homesick for somewhere I’ve never been.
Wherever I go, fun follow me.
Milk in a cup of oil.
It’s n ...more
And for all you wise-crackers out there - that's my review of the book, not my own six-word memoir.
Smith magazine, inspired by Hemingway's six-word story "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn" invited its readers to submit their own six-word memoirs. The results were published in this book, along with some submissions by famous writers and celebrities.
Here are some that I liked:
Couldn't cope so I wrote songs. Aimee Mann
Would you like fries with that? Scott Northrup
"I asked. They answered. I wrote." --Sebastian Junger
"The psychic said I'd be richer." --Elizabeth Bernstein
"I thought I was someone else." --Tysa Goodrich
"Happiness is a warm salami sandwich." --Stanley Bing
"I'm enjoying even this downward dance." --Column McCann
"Dad died, mom crazy, me too." --Moby
"Fight, work, persevere--gain slight notoriety." --Harvey Pekar
"Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched." --Amy Sedaris
Being a monk stunk. Better gay.
Happiest when ignoring huge financial debt.
Lived in moment until moment sucked.
Nothing profound, I just sat around.
It was embarrassing, so don't ask.
Thought I would have more impact.
Can't tonight, watching Law & Order.
Anything possible - but I was tired.
Rebel librarian on sabbatical from boys.
No shit I ...more
But I'm excited to be in it, right after Myfanwy Collins ( ...more
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story in six words. "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
In 2006, Smith Magazine offered to its readers the opportinuty to write a six-word memoir. This book contains some ot the entries they received.
Cursed by cancer. Blessed by friends.
I was born, some assembly required.
Creative and destructive in many ways.
On her birthday, my life began.
We walked barefoot in wet cement.
I wrote it all do ...more
Each story is completely different some are about relationships while so ...more
Authors' Reflections: Sometimes, Less is ...more
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's iconic "For sale: baby shoes, never worn", these were the submissions sent to a magazine called SMITH during NaNoWriMo in 2006. A compilation of 6 word memoirs. Maybe, size doesn't matter after all.
I loved reading these and made notes too, for later use. Recommend reading it.
Here are a few(?) favorites -
I am trying, in every regard. —Lionel Shriver
Took scenic ro ...more
The stories are funny, thoughtful, thoughtless, heart-breaking, confusing, all condensed down to the bare bones. It's amazing how much you can reveal in only 6 words!
Some of my favourites were:
I still make coffee for two. -Zak Nelson
Followed white rabbit. Became black sheep. -Gabrielle Maconi
Found true love, married someone else. -Bjorn Stromberg
Came, saw, conquered, had second thoughts. -Harold Ramis
I coloured outside of th ...more
I wrote down a few dozen (!!) favorites, but here's the one that rose to the top:
I live the perfect imperfect life.
Learned everything from words, pictures, love.
Put whole self in, shook about.
Fearlessness is the mother of reinvention.
We were each other's ...more
She walked barefoot in wet cement
My life's a bunch of almosts
Fact checker by day, liar by night
After reading this you won't be able to resist writing your own and your friends' six wo ...more
Followed yellow brick road, disappointment ensued. Kelsey Ochs
Verbal hemophilia. Why can't I clot? -Scott Mebus
I am awfully bored at work. -Chris Ponchak
I ate, drank, and was hairy. -Yianni Varonis
In a Manolo world, I'm Keds. Colleen Cook
Liars, hysterectomy didn't improve sex life! -Joan Rivers
He wanted much, he feared more. - Randall Currey
Underachieving pleasure punk seeks constant gratification. -Dennis Elj
Lapsed Catholic; f ...more
It took me far longer to "read" than I had intended, mostly because the majority of the memoirs were not as striking as the Hemingway story: "For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn." Takes your breath away, right? I was anticipating more along those lines, but instead stories not quite so exciting were included, like: "I grew and grew and grew." -Randy Newcomer and "In the office. It smells here. - Meera Parthasarathy.
The book was still pretty good. ...more
More than 200,000 people have submitted Six-Word Memoirs at SMITH Magazine (smithmag.net) and its younger cousin, SMITH Teens (smithteens.com). Thanks to the devoted admiration of writers, critics
and educators alike, the six-word memoir concept has spread to classroom...more