Sunday, May 11, 2008

Not Quite What I Was Planning

Hemingway once wrote a short story that was six words long. (For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.)

A couple of years ago, SMITH magazine held a literary contest, asking folks to submit a memoir in six words. The result is a slim volume of memoirs, called Not Quite What I Was Planning. Some are hilarious, some sound like potential titles for country songs, some fall a bit flat. But reading them is completely addictive.

"Bad brakes discovered at high speed." by J. Baumeister

"Found true love, married someone else." by B. Stromberg

"I still make coffee for two." Z. Nelson

"Savior complex makes for many disappointments." A Schubach

"Cursed with cancer. Blessed with friends." H. Davies (9 years old)

This is a good exercise, the attempt to sum up your life, so far, in six words. Some have floated the idea of trying to sum up the life of someone famous, such as the current president, in six words, and a few apt suggestions can be found on the SMITH mag website. (My favorite is: "Born on third base, stole home." Click here for more.)  The magazine is now taking submissions for its next volume of 6 worders. 

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