Six-Word Memoirs is a story telling project that started by an American online -Smith Magazine to explore other possible platforms for telling stories in all its forms. Smith magazine was founded in 2006, and the first book with six word memoirs was published in 2007. So far, over fifty books have been published. Its actual origin, according to literary legend, started when the novelist Ernest Hemingway, was once provoked to write a complete short story in only six words. He wrote: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
The six-word memoir, Is it possible?
Six word memoirs leave the reader with a huge suspense. The audient is left to speculate the middle or the ending of the ‘story’. Though entertaining they do not actually reach at inviting the reader to enter a world created in the ordinary story telling techniques. Although memoirs are true stories, memoirists borrow techniques from fiction writers to create scenes full of narrative details –scenes that leave footprints in the reader’s memories. Some inexplicable chemistry of the elements in a story gives it the power to get and keep readers’ attention and to make an impression. (Blau, & Burak, 2010)
Any difficulty in writing a super short memoir as opposed to a longer piece? Why or why not?
I believe that however that indeed it is possible to tell a story in six words. Memoirs such as “Not Quite What I Was Planning”; “I Can't Keep My Own Secrets” or “Facebook has ruined my entire life” are examples of great memoirs. Despite the ‘missing middle’ these memoires engages the reader and make an impression long after it is read.
To make an impact like the ordinary story, memoires have to have carefully selected words sparingly used. There is therefore great and critical thinking behind a memory thus making it difficult to write. The shorter the memoir the more the critical thought required hence more difficulty. Telling a story the ordinary was is even easier since events are each described.
1) My six-word memoirs
i. You never get done with books
ii. Good life after school, No Money!
iii. Born, schooled, married, working and bored.
Blau, S., & Burak K., (2010) Writing in the Works, (2nd Edn) Wadworth, Boston: USA p175-177
Smith L., & Fershleisert R., (2010) All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoires Harper Collins, New York: USA
Smith L., & Fershleisert R., (2010) I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure, HarperTeen: New York: US
Featured Memoirs (updated) Accessed on November 17th 2010.