Memoirs in Six Words

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsInspired by the urban legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words — to which he submitted: “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” — SMITH magazine invited its readers, several years ago, to submit six-word memoirs. Here are some notable submissions by writers, famous or obscure:

I asked. They answered. I wrote. (Sebastian Junger)

Seventy years, few tears, hairy ears. (Bill Querengesser)

Watching quietly from every door frame. (Nicole Resseguie)

Forest peace, sharing vision, always optimistic. (Jane Goodall)

Catholic school backfired. Sin is in! (Nikki Beland)

The psychic said I would be richer. (Elizabeth Bernstein)

I still make coffee for two. (Zak Nelson)

Oldest of five. Four degress. Broke. (Kaitlin Walsh)

Followed white rabbit. Became black sheep. (Gabrielle Maconi)

Danced in Fields of Infinite Possibilities. (Deepak Chopra)

Mistakes were made, but smarter now. (Christine Triano)

Amazing grace: born naked, clothed others. (Mark Budman)

Followed rules, not dreams. Never again. (Margaret Hellerstein)

Struggled with how the mind works. (Steven Pinker)

I was born; some assembly required. (Eric Jordan)

I recognize red flags faster now. (Barbara Burri)

Afraid of becoming like my mother. (Jocelyn Pearce)

My life’s a bunch of almosts. (Shari Nonnin)

Couldn’t cope so I wrote songs. (Aimee Mann)

Thought I would have more impact. (Kevin Clark)

I lost god. I found myself. (Joe Kimmel)

Still lost on road less traveled. (Joe Quesada)

I couldn’t protect me from myself. (Patrick Eleey)

My life is a beautiful accident. (J. D. Tenuta)

Wandering imagination opens doors to paradise. (Rebecca Perlstein)

It was worth it, I think. (Annette Laitinen)

Came, saw, conquered, had second thoughts. (Harold Ramis)

Saw, interpreted, mourned, hoped, then preacher. (Douglas Rushkoff)

Born at 23, childhood doesn’t count. (Krissy Karol)

Perpetual work in progress, need editor. (Sherry Fuqua-Gilson

Age grows, I’ve finally accepted me. (Kate Mammolito)

Aging late bloomer, yearns for do-over. (Sydney Zvara)

Many hands have kept me afloat. (Nick Flynn)

Saw the world; now where’s home? (Hannah Silverstein)

Traversing Earth together, chasing elusive answers. (Paul Barber)

Always working on the next chaper. (Milan Pham)

Next time — better parents, better hair. (Ruth Romano)

Educated too much, lived too little. (Dan Vance)

Tried everything once, few things twice. (Ed Zevetski)

I’d rather be watching a movie. (Lawrence Levi)

I have done it all. (Aaron Knoll)

Woke up, fell down, exited sideways. (Jim Clupper)

Explained Hitler, Shakespeare. Couldn’t explain self. (Ron Rosenbaum)

It’s like forever, only much shorter. (Pete DeVito)

Still trying to impress my dad. (Shoshana Berger)

Nature, nurture, lost, found, lost, found? (Sarah Saffian)

You must be fifty to understand. (Henri Breitenkam)

Internal age does not match external age. (Carol Smith)

What is your six-word memoir?

Read related posts: The Proust Questionnaire
Doublets: The Value of Wisdom
The Virtue of Wisdom
The Wisdom of Tom Shadyac
The Wisdom of Martin Luther King
The Wisdom of a Grandmother

The Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks
The Wisdom of Steven Wright

For further reading: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs edited by SMITH Magazine

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