A thought-provoking post from our Sisterhood of Suspense friend, Joanne Guidoccio. Do you have six words to sum up your life?

Word by Word

By Joanne Guidoccio

Whenever I attend workshops, I take note of any icebreakers. While some participants may groan, I find these short, introductory exercises very effective in creating community and stimulating creativity.

One of my favorites is the “Six-Word Memoir,” a spinoff of the challenge once given to Ernest Hemingway: Write a story using only six words.

His reply was quick and succinct: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, asked his fans to describe their lives in exactly six words. Intended to be a one-month contest, the project took on a life of its own. Since that time, Smith has received millions of responses, from the hilarious to the bittersweet to the inspirational. You can find out more here.

At the workshop where I was first introduced to this project, the facilitator shared the following examples:

“Married by Elvis, divorced…

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18 thoughts

  1. Another terrific challenge. I love the answers.
    The sum of our lives seems to be on several minds to day. Someone else was challenging to name our memoirs. My negative nellie seems to take control when I try to think of either of these — six words or a title. Maybe it’s just that I’m on a quick morning break at work… Hugs.

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