Beanery Online Literary Magazine

April 20, 2009

Can You Write Your Memoir in Six Words?

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

CAN YOU WRITE YOUR MEMOIR IN SIX WORDS?

Beanery Writers Group Members

Compiled by Carolyn C. Holland, group facilitator

 

     The Beanery Writers Group voted to have a “casual meeting” on April 17 (2009). The vote had been not to meet the week before, our regular meeting date, April 10, since it was Good Friday. Still, we had five members attend, and we met in the main room of the Coffee Bean Café in Latrobe, since there was a group of people in the back room and we didn’t want to kick them out (the Café had neglected to post our rescheduled meeting time, and we told the waitress we were OK, not to remove the other group). Aside from some background noise, all went well. It was nice to meet where there were windows.

     As facilitator, the only preparation I made was to pull a pile of “stuff” from my file cabinet, briefly scan it, and stuff it into my laptop bag. A few of these items created short discussions, including the notation that April 17 is set aside for Blah, Blah, Blah Day.

     After I read a few items that have been sent for the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, I pulled a newspaper article from the pile. I planned to use it at a regular meeting, but fortunately, we usually have enough items to review and critique that this particular piece had been sitting in my files for quite a while. Today was my day to challenge everyone with it.

     The headline of the June 23, 2008, Tribune-Review (by Erin White, McClatchy Newspapers) article read: Write you memoir in six words. She was reviewing a book by authors Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, titled “Not Quite What I Was Planning.” It is a collection of six-word memoirs.

     The newspaper article reported that Smith stated “Six words isn’t scary.” Hmmm—I thought it sounded frightening. The article quoted some excerpts from the book:

      I was born some assembly required. (Eric Jordan)

      Macular degeneration. Didn’t see that coming. (Ian Gold)

      Couldn’t cope so I wrote songs. (Aimee Mann, singer-songwriter)

      Thus, I couldn’t resist giving the members of the writing group this challenge.

     And when I did, the routine moans and groans that follow the presentation of a prompt subject could be heard, but the writers good-naturedly set to their assigned task. Amazingly, when it was time to share the results, everyone had come up with the six words. Several wrote more than the required single memoir. Read the results (they had five minutes to produce them):

     Perky Pat survives family of twelve. (Pat)

     A sense of humor never hurt. (Sal)

     Loved this world. Will miss it. (Diana)

     Been here before. I’ll be back. (Diana)

     Little by little, not enough time.  (Bill)

     I tried. Give me another chance. (Bill)

     I, as of now, still live. (Joe)

     “Six words is tough,” one member commented.

     The words written by the members may only reflect an aspect of one’s life. But I wonder, did the words we chose, so different, offer an essential glimpse into who we are as a person, a look at how we view ourselves or our world? Do they reveal a core essence of self?

      Although I agreed that writing a six word memoir is tough, I was able to write four:

     I lived, I grew, I died

     Born blue, lived green, died yellow.

     Order within chaos, chaos within order.

     Dreams created, dreams smashed, dreams achieved.

     That evening, another member, Lois, was at my house. I challenged her, and here are the results (I didn’t give her the five minute time limit):

     Life is good, even with change.

     Life is good, no matter what.

     I always end up starting over.

     I worry, but never give up.

     Members of the Beanery Writers Group challenge you, my readers, to do what the Beanery Writers Group Members did, and write your memoir in six words. Can you do it?

     We invite you to share your results with us. Post them in the comment box at the end of this post.

ADDITIONAL READING:

DOES EXAGGERATING THE TRUTH CREATE GOOD STORIES?

Dr. Uwe Stender Presentation on Literary Agents

Found: Flash Drive. What should I do?

GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of “18 SECONDS” & “LAST BREATH” Part 1

HOW THE BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE WAS CREATED

HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ONLINE 

INTEGRITY: A JOURNALISTIC CODE OF ETHICS REVIEW

JOURNALISM QUESTION

JOURNALIST ETHICS CONCERNING THE RECEIPT OF GIFTS

THE LIGONIER 250TH ANNIVERSARY BOOKLET

MORALITY IN WRITING

REFLECTING ON MY WRITING LIFE IN 2008

Review of Literary Agent Dr. Uwe Stender’s Workshop

SELF-PUBLISHING AS I WANDER THROUGH IT

THE TIME IS NOW…

SITE LINKS:

www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com/

www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com

www.barbarapurbaugh.com

www.pennwriters.com

ellenspain.com

http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/

http://www.methodists-care.org/

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3 Comments »

  1. I did the six word memoir exercise. this is what I came up with. “Surviving the unspeakable: examined life”.

    Comment by janet singer applefield — January 9, 2010 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Janet…can anyone add their six word memoir to Janet’s????

    Comment by beanerywriters — January 9, 2010 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  3. Got computer, discovered internet, lost hours

    Comment by Matthew — January 17, 2010 @ 5:50 pm | Reply


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