Six-Word Memoirs, part II

by Kim on January 28, 2009 · 9 comments

Last year (wow it seems weird to write that), I read and reviewed Not Quite What I Was Planning, a book of six-word memoirs edited by SMITH Magazine.  The concept of the book comes from an urban legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words.   Based on that story, SMITH Magazine editors opened up the floor for “writers famous and obscure” to submit their own six-word memoirs.  They accepted more that 15,000 entries, then reprinted about 800 of them in the book.

Today I was excited to learn that a second edition of memoirs, Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, is now available on Amazon.  You can also watch a YouTube video about the book if you’re curious.   And if you follow smithmag on Twitter, you can get a daily six-word memoir about love between now and Valentine’s Day.  You can also submit your own six-word memoirs to SMITH Magazine.

I feel a little like a publicist, but I am pretty excited about this book and plan to pick it up as soon as I can.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Steph January 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

Well, if brevity is the soul of wit, then these must be some of the wittiest memoirs ever!

Interesting concept, though I’m not sure if it’s for me. I can barely do short stories! ;)


Care January 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

“The Sophisticated Dork Writes Great Reviews.”

new tag line?!


Betty and Boo's Mommy January 28, 2009 at 10:45 am

I had no idea there was a new edition! I’ll have to look for it.


Dorte H January 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

“She did what she could”
– five words I found on an old tombstone.
My friend thought it was hilarious. I tried to explain to her that this was typical understatement in my part of the world (far-out Jutland).

By the way, I wonder whether I have misunderstood something. I think I joined your blog improvement challenge 3 weeks ago, but as you have never visited my blog, I´d like to know if it is because I did not get the URL address right (I was a real beginner back then!), or if I joined in too late or something. (Hope not, because I really enjoy being part of it).


Kim January 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Steph: I tried to do my own six word memoir when I read the first book, and it’s quite hard! It’s a good exercise in precise word choice and good punctuation though, so I always try it again from time to time.

Care: Ha :)

Betty and Boo’s Momma: I didn’t either, but I signed up for the Smith Magazine newsletter and found out about it that way.

Dorte H: I love that! Coming up with six words for your tombstone might be a dark and funny idea though :)


belleofthebooks January 29, 2009 at 8:04 am

That’s great! I’ve flipped through the first book while in bookstores, so I’m excited for the new one. Maybe that would give me the inspiration to do my own because right now I find only six words daunting!


Dorte H January 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

Six words for Hemingway´s tombstone is an easy one, though.

He was born, wrote, and died.

– and please don´t see this as disrespect. Hemingway was excellent at what he did, and I often use his short stories in my English classes.


Kim January 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

belleofthebooks: Me too. I tried to write one before and got nowhere. I think because I was reading memoir too broadly, trying to encompass my whole life, when really a memoir is just a tiny snapshot of some part of life. Maybe if I tried again with that attitude it would be easier.

Dorte: I love that too! And no disrespect at all, he was excellent at his form and style.


Brenda February 6, 2009 at 9:12 am

It is a lovely AND sad little book. I wrote about it at and would be thrilled if you visited. I also created a page at about the first book on which many, many visitors left their life sentence!



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