Six-Word Memoirs

Six-Word Memoirs

A few years ago, when I was teaching English composition to college freshmen, I came across a writing exercise called “Six-word Memoirs.” The idea behind it, as you may guess from the name, is to write a memoir in only six words. Six words? I hear you asking, How is that possible?

My favorite kind of writing is terse, tight, and economical, so it’s no surprise that I love the challenge and the creativity needed to come up with a great six-word memoir.

It’s pretty incredible to read what people have written, some poignant and reflective, others humorous and light-hearted. But all of them have one thing in common: they’re only six words long.

The city of Miami, Florida during their international book fair this coming November is promoting the idea of the six-word memoirs among participants. Winning six-word memoirs get interpreted by a Miami photographer and published in a limited-edition postcard series. Pretty cool! Here are the examples on their website:

“For sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.”

“Strangers. Friends. Best Friends. Lovers. Strangers.”

“Penniless weirdo. Struck lottery. Overnight genius.”

Here are a few I found on Pinterest:

Hard work is the short cut.

I dance daily, watched or not.

I’m not shy. I’m an introvert.

Saved by grace and witty charm.

Made my own kind of music.

Pretty great, eh?

And here are mine…obviously still a work in progress:

Talent plus hard work equals success.

My mantra: this too shall pass.

By grace I’m saved through faith.

Stuff happened. I wrote about it.


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