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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your Life, in Six Words

Talk about boiling things down to their essence. I recently learned of an interesting book called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Complied by the editors of online magazine SMITH, it contains over 1,000 six-word memoirs, including additions from many celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Jane Goodall, Dave Eggers, and more.

A few examples from the famous, particularly some that might appeal to writers:

"Couldn't cope so I wrote songs"
Aimee Mann

"Revenge is living well, without you"
Joyce Carol Oates

"I asked. They answered. I wrote."
Sebastian Junger

The entries from the "obscure," a.k.a regular people, are equally good. Here's a sampling--some funny, some touching:

"70 years, few tears, hairy ears"

"Naively expected logical world. Acted foolishly".

"Never really finished anything, except cake"

"Joined army. Came out. Got booted.”

"Extremely responsible, secretly longed for spontaneity."

"Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends" (from a nine year old)

"No wife. No kids. No problems"

“I like big butts, can’t lie”.

Can you tell your story in six words? SMITH is collecting submissions for their next six-word memoir book. It may be fun to give it a try.



  1. Anonymous8:08 AM

    lol, I really like the ones from the "regular" folks...especially the one about never finishing anything except cake.

  2. "Lived and died by my choices."

    That pretty much sums up every aspect of my life so far. =)

  3. You should submit that Annette, it's good. :)

  4. Anonymous4:42 PM

    I have never tried writing a story within six words. But it gives me something new to practice on.
    Thanks! for your article.

  5. Thanks, Marcia. Maybe I will... =)

    I'm surprised more people didn't take a shot at summing themselves up. It's actually a little challenging. There were so many other things I could have said, but it was interesting to find a way to boil it all down to only 6 words.

  6. Can't maintain the weight I lost

    it sucks, but that's me


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