I was particularly fascinated with Talk of the Nation, yesterday, on NPR. They interviewed two newsreporters from Smith magazine who started a website for people to post their six-word memoir.
I am lost in our 140 word world, as a long-winded writer and speaker. Rarely do I talk succinctly; it’s been a lifelong problem for me. Perhaps that’s why I have a fascination for haiku poetry. It is truly a challenge to me (as is Twitter’s 140 word status lines.)
So the idea of summarizing a life in 6 words intrigued me.
The idea originated with Ernest Hemingway who was challenged in a bar to write a novel in 6 words. He thought for a minute and said, “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.” Can’t you imagine what the story would be about?: maybe a miscarriage. Or a baby who died at childbirth. It tickles your imagination, no?
The newsreporters have compiled many of the public’s submissions into a book called, “It All Changed in An Instant”. They talked yesterday about the words ‘usually’ and ‘almost’ and how they see those words often in peoples six-word memoirs. Isn’t it interesting how we can’t definitively state our life’s work or don’t want to commit to doing something 100% of the time?
Some of the memoirs they mentioned were:
My life makes my therapist laugh.
I stll practice my Oscar’s speech. (I liked this one!)
Holden gave me permission to rebel. (!)
This time I’ll get it right.
They’ve now begun dividing the memoirs into groups: teens, children, mothers, etc.
They asked one 9-year-old what her memoir would be. After thinking a few minutes she replied, “Nine years stacked within my soul.” wow!
Of course I spent the rest of the day batting around ideas of what my six-word memoir would be. I found it was easier to think of a six-word memoir for right now; it was harder to come up with a life’s summation memoir.
I’m not sure of the rules for hyphenating and apostrophes, but I think mine might be:
Over compensating for what’s already there.
Share some of your six-word thoughts! Whether they are for where you are right now, or the entirety of your life. I’m anxious to see what YOU come up with……