Thinking of writing your memoirs? That’s a pretty tall order, cramming a lifetime into a few hundred pages. Here’s an even tougher assignment: do it in six words.
That’s the length of this sentence. Your whole life in six words.
Smith Magazine and Twitter teamed up for a contest inviting people to accept this challenge and was flooded with 11,000 entries. The result is a book that hit the shelves this week, “Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.”
Try it yourself. Given enough time, you might come up with something you’re satisfied with, but chances are you’ll need several sequels to your original memoir before you’ve done your life justice.
Here’s what I came up with in my first try: “Should have listened to me more.” This refers to my tendency to weigh all sides of an issue before making a decision. There have been many times when I deferred to the judgments of others rather than following my own instincts, only to regret it.
Check out this nifty video on Amazon for some of the entries that made the cut. Here are a few of them:
Brought it to a boil, often – Mario Batali
Revenge is living well, without you – Joyce Carol Oates
Not a good Christian, but trying – Alexander Tsai
Thought I would have more impact – Kevin Clark
Everyone who loved me is dead – Ellen Fanning
Without me, it is just aweso – Chris Madigan
She kissed me and said yes! – Ricardo Saramago
I managed not to destroy anything – Tucker Frazier
A tip of the hat to my courageous blogging friend Terry Thornton who has gone public with his quest to lose weight, posting his progress weekly, even after loading up on beignets and Cafe au Lait at Café Du Monde during a visit to New Orleans. You’re a brave man, Terry, and an inspiration. Keep it up.