“I’m always humbled by the friendliness and solidarity of the Six community. My day isn’t complete without a Six fix.”
Name: Neesha Hosein
Place: Houston, Texas
SMITH Member Since: October 2014
On the day Neesha Hosein joined Six Words, she posted memoirs in six of our topic categories — our first hint that she has a curious mind. Shortly thereafter, her memoir “Dear younger self: start saving money.” secured her place in our latest book, The Best Advice in Six Words. This memoir seems to capture Neesha101‘s disposition — kindhearted and cheeky, reflective and wise. Her memoirs have been highlighted often as Editor’s Picks (“Cropping negativity out of mental pictures”) and her backstories are equally compelling (“His smile is worth it all.”). To scroll through her body of work on Six-Word Memoirs, is to read a writer who knows that how you tell the story is as important as the story itself. Congrats to Neesha Hosein as our Memoirist of the Month for February 2016. Read more about this multi-talented writer as she answers our Six Questions:
What better way to celebrate words than to adopt one? In SixContest#68, we asked you to nominate a favorite and proclaim it in Six Words. Thanks to our partnership with Wordnik.com, our lucky winner gets to Adopt-a-Word for a year! It’s no surprise that political wordplay made a showing (“Trumposity–pomposity trumpeted with no shame.” —wayne27 and “Bernacular: truth talking while others lie.” —pdiggety). But simple words were equally alluring (“LONELY so it wouldn’t be alone. —Darryl Forman via FB”). We had quite a few examples of portmanteau — creating a new word by “packing together” two words in form and meaning — from the word itself to inventive mashups that belong in everyday vocabulary (“PROCRASTINATRIX: puts off until it hurts.” —JoC.). The universal love of words distilled into this Top Six:
6. “SALACIOUS thoughts are your mind candy.” —Andygirl
5. “STAR: an orphan now Bowie’s gone.” —NeilSlevin
4. “DIFFIDENT boy watches the girl leave.” —@FranDiClem (via Twitter)
3. “SERENDIPITY: Best travel guide ever created.” —quiltpoet
2. “Connected good fortune, two halves. BASHERT.” —enginethatcould
And the word that comes with adoption papers…
1. “ENTRAINMENT, because the rhythm gets you.” —@delynnium (via Twitter)
Congratulations to @delynnium and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
Mr. Hollman’s 5th grade class
Finding Six-Word Memoirs was a happy accident for Lee Hollman, a fifth-grade special education teacher at The Helen Keller School in Bronx, New York. Hollman, who has been teaching for 13 years, was searching for a writing project that would be succinct, yet sufficiently challenging for this class.
The previous essay assignment that Hollman used for years was tedious. “I was tired of the same old, same old,” he says. “Some special needs kids lacked essay writing stamina.”
With the U.S. Presidential election and the Summer Olympics on tap, 2016 is sure to be an exciting year. For SixContest #67 we asked you to roll out your crystal ball, channel your inner soothsayer, and conjure up your own Six-Word predictions for the year ahead. Some of your prophecies are, frankly, pretty predictable (“Another diet will bite the dust.” —Maeva), others are inventive auguries (“Ancient aliens return. They aren’t happy.” —@PurpleMonarch79). We have a hunch a few of your forecasts could come true (“Six sixers will become professional writers.” —JAD). These Top Six predictions forecast an intriguing year ahead:
6. “Food will be the new medicine.” —AmisReklaw
5. “Thoughts, prayers prevent 0 mass shootings.” —@jefftiedrich (via Twitter)
4. “Hottest recorded years: 2016, 2015, 2014.” —A.A.
3. “Usain wins. Donald loses. Carry on.” —NotMrPeanut
2. “This will be the Cubbies’ year!” —Judy_Gray
And the top prediction of 2016…
1. “Flying cameras will issue the tickets.” —LotLessMonster
Congratulations to LotLessMonster and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
“I came across The Pekar Project and there was a mention there about Six-Word Memoirs. The name was vaguely familiar and the concept was a hoot. I visited the site and was hooked.”
Name: George Sosa
Place: New York, New York
SMITH Member Since: July 2011
Reading, writing, real-estating….George Sosa is a busy man living in the Big Apple. But he carves out time throughout the year for Six Words, one of his many literary passions. Better known by our community as trust2020, he has posted some 800 memoirs since joining us in 2011. George is a New Yorker at heart (“They’ll always have Paris. Me? Brooklyn.”) whose memoirs often reflect the times at hand (“My resolutions are laughing at me.”) and the idiosyncrasies of aging (“Wild at heart. Inflamed at knees.”). George is featured in our 2011 partnership with Mercer, Six Words about Work (“Everyone loves you when you’re billable.”) and in our latest book, The Best Advice in Six Words, he contributed this prudent tip: “On death: have an exit strategy.” Congratulations to George Sosa as our Memoirist of the Month for January 2016. Read more about what keeps him coming back to Six Words:
For SixContest #66, we partnered with the producers of Little White Lie and the Truth Circle Game, challenging you to lighten the load and confess your little white lies in just Six Words. The range of deception was endless — from everyday fibs (“This is EXACTLY what I wanted.” —@CavRTK) and false submissions (“Your lies don’t hurt me anymore…” —Foolishwriter) to deeply personal truths behind those lies (Ed. Note: linked to her backstory: “I was stripping, not selling flowers.” —ChristineMacdonald). With so many smart, funny, and thoughtful entries, it’s clear that we all think about the lies we tell ourselves and each other. The payoff for revealing your little white lies? Each of our Top Six entries wins a copy of the Truth Circle Game:
6. “It’ll be great with minor editing.” — L2L3
5. “No, that’s not a new dent.” —oopsalittle
4. “Your artistic endeavor shows considerable potential.” —@Becky_Garrison (via Twitter)
3. “Construction will finish in three weeks.” —@Going4the1_KY (via Twitter)
2. “I’ve read the terms and conditions.” —@kfoleywellness (via Twitter)
…and the #1 Little White Lie is…
1. “I’m OK. Really, I’m doing fine.” —UUBikerChick*
*Ed. Note: UUBikerChick also shared this powerful backstory:
I’m OK. Really, I’m doing fine. Living with several chronic medical issues (depression, PTSD, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes) means that I almost never feel really well. But I almost never want to share how I really feel with most people. Only my close friends get the honest answer.
Congratulations to UUBikerChick, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
Three years ago, Mrs. Carpenter, a teacher at Montgomery Area High School in Montgomery, Pennsylvania, stumbled upon a teaching tool: the Six-Word Memoir. Intrigued, she resolved to incorporate Six Words into the class plan for her 10th grade American Literature students. Their unit on banned books offered students a classic example to examine the power of words and the impact of word choice.
We’re T minus 3 nights away from Hanukkah and 3 weeks away from Christmas and Kwanzaa — the holiday season is in full effect. A time of merriment, but for some, there’s an added element of emotional and psychological stress as another year comes to a close. For SixContest #65, we asked for your tips on surviving the holidays. Whether you ease the seasonal deluge with Six Words (“Pick up Advice book. Take heed.“ —JAD), or some old-fashioned liquid courage (“Never refuse refilling of wine glass.” —amanda.sunshine), these Top Six survival tips will come in handy all month long:
6. “Pretend it’s summer. In a sweater.” —@jeremygregg (via Twitter)
5. “Enter holiday events with exit strategies.” —JoC.
4. “Grab book, shut door, flush periodically.” —Cay
3. “Replace snow shovel with sand shovel.” —G_Austin
2. “Visit family where weed is legal.” —@taradublinrocks (via Twitter)
…and the top #HolidaySurvivalin6Words entry is…
1. “Keep quiet and think character development.” —bohemdeb
Congratulations to bohemdeb, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
“Six Words is the first thing I see in the morning when I log in. I consider myself an ‘all-in’ Sixer. Backstories, photos, messages — you name it, I post it.”
Name: Jennifer R.
Place: Vancouver Island, Canada
SMITH Member Since: 2012
Jen R. joined SWM in 2012 and became a prolific Sixer in 2014, with nearly 2,600 memoirs as we head toward the end of the year. Her stories are ripe with good-humored commentary (“Cooking for one, drinking for eight”), deft insights (“Hypercritical parents inevitably raise insecure children”) and cursing…lots of cursing (“Christmasing the sh#t outta the house”). A self-described “Optimist at heart, pessimist from experience,” Jen is a devoted mother who finds beauty all around her (“Mined your words and found gold”). Congrats to Jen R. as our Memoirist of the Month for December 2015. You’ll see why Jen’s big heart and unabashed nature make her so appealing as she answers our Six Questions:
Houston, Texas-based teacher Adriana Hernandez first heard about Six-Word Memoirs through a coworker at Albright Middle School who had bought a Six-Word Memoirs book after hearing an interview on NPR. Miss Hernandez found the book extremely interesting: “It stuck in my mind over the last few years; I thought I’d introduce it to my kids.”
Miss Hernandez began this school year by having her seventh grade Language Arts class write personal narratives. She discussed doing a Twitter-style narrative — limiting them to 140 characters — which would be “more interactive, something that they’re familiar with, like using social media.” Some students, however, struggled with the concept of what makes a character, and had trouble narrowing down their narrative to 140 words. “In some ways, social media stilts their writing,” says Hernandez, “they don’t have to go into detail. But there’s something kind of cool about having that short neat piece.”