Memoirist of the Month—December 2016: Susan G. Uran Evind

“In the last two years I’ve checked the site every day, if just to read what folks post and am always touched, humbled and entertained by what I see. There is so much give and take on this site. The contests are challenging, the book compilations are wonderful (I am published in last year’s The Best Advice in Six Words), and my learning curve has arced to the heavens!”

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Name: Susan G. Uran Evind
Place: Santa Rosa, California
SMITH Member Since: August 2012

Susan Evind is a memoirist whose love of storytelling and nostalgia shines through in her Six-Word Memoirs. Posting as zsuzsu, through her 600+ memoirs since 2012, Susan takes advantage of everything we offer at Six Words—from strong entries in our SixContests, to robust backstories (“Dad would ‘shoot-the-bull’ with Lawrence Ferlinghetti.”) and treasured images (“Remembering Grandma’s legacy, not just today”) that add depth to her Six-Word Memoirs. Her words of wisdom for the generations (“Catch falls, catch hugs, catch naps.”) are published in our 2015 book, The Best Advice in Six Words. Congratulations to Susan Evind as our Memoirist of the Month for December 2016. Discover more of Susan’s backstory as she answers our Six Questions:

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Classroom of the Month: Mrs. Hiestand’s 6th grade ELA at Westchester Intermediate School in Chesterton, Indiana

six-word-abnegation-manifestoAt Westchester Intermediate School in Chesterton, Indiana, teachers seek innovative ways to create enthusiasm for learning in the classroom. So it’s no surprise that 6th grade ELA teacher Martha Hiestand was drawn to Six-Word Memoirs when she stumbled upon the concept on Pinterest.

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Top Six “Welcome to America” Thanksgiving-Inspired Memoirs

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Although Thanksgiving is over, sharing gratitude and celebrating our heritage is always in season. For SixContest #87, in conjunction with our upcoming book “Six Words Fresh Off the Boat,” we asked for your Thanksgiving-inspired Sixes about immigration and identity in America. Some entries celebrate special traditions (“Sharing our stories over torn bread.” —CindyT), while others reflect the emigration experience (“Gave us opportunities they didn’t have.” –Neesha101). All of these memoirs give us many reasons to be thankful.

Introducing the Top Six “Welcome to America” memoirs:

6. “We are here. We are home.” —@tommasz (via Twitter)

5. “Thanksgiving Day. Irish eyes were smiling.” —maryjane31

4. “Melting pot’s full, come in anyway.” —JoanTerra

3. “Family. Everything else is just gravy.” —Susan_Breeden

2. “Grandma’s serving platter has survived generations.” —AROD

The memoir that best reflects thankfulness for the American Dream… 

1. “Oppression became opportunity; poverty became prosperity.” —LouHope

Congratulations to LouHope on winning a spot in our upcoming book, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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The Top Six Most Terrifying Words

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No matter how tough you are, everyone can be shaken to the core. For SixContest #86, we asked for Six Words that absolutely terrify you during this month of fright. Your Sixes are eerie and haunting (“The real demons walk among us.” —@KathrynDiPasqua via Twitter), revealing lightheartedly scary possibilities (“I’m sorry; we have only decaf.” —@carolmcc13 via Twitter), along with some legitimate fears (“Leaving no legacy. Forgotten after death.” —VinnieCosta). With nearly 500 entries on our site, our Sixers are no strangers to terror and dread.

Introducing the Top Six Words that are truly terrifying:

6. “Hey babe, ‘we need to talk.'” —caralongwrites

5. “You wrote books, Iris. Beautiful books.” —Jeff Greenwald (via Facebook)

4. “Daring to dream’s no longer permitted.” —J3nny

3. “Relax, it’s just locker room talk.” —@greenflag68 (via Twitter)

2. The cancer is back. It’s terminal.” —DynamicDbytheC

And the Six Words we found most unnerving…

1. “We respectfully regret to inform you . . .” —womanathequill

Congratulations to womanathequill, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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Memoirist of the Month—November 2016: Michelle Wolff

“I check in with Six-Word Memoirs in the morning before class begins. It’s a fun way for me to wake my brain up before the kids show up so I can get the creative juices flowing…”

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Name:
 Michelle Wolff
Place: Greater Detroit, Michigan
SMITH Member Since: October 2012

Michelle Wolff is playfully candid (“Yoga pants, strictly for couch surfing”), while embracing the philosophy that less is more (“Life story written in invisible ink”). Since joining SMITH Magazine in October 2012 as MotorCityMich, through her 800+ memoirs we’ve learned she has a heart for helping others (“Starting over with a new rescue”) and an aptitude for engaging her students (“That moment you become a meme”). Congratulations to Michelle Wolff as our Memoirist of the Month for November 2016. Learn more about what makes MotorCityMich a balanced voice in the Six Words community as she answers our Six Questions:

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Ms. Hansen’s Seventh Grade Students at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Waltham, Massachusetts

six-word5At John F. Kennedy Middle School in Waltham, Massachusetts, they recognize that “students undergo an amazing transformation, cognitively, physically and emotionally” during the pivotal middle school years. Cue Kennedy Middle School teacher Katherine Hansen, who was immediately intrigued by Six-Word Memoirs and its potential to “go deeper than the standard get-to-know-you activity” with her seventh grade students at the beginning of the school year.

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Call for Submissions: “Six Words Fresh Off the Boat” Book!

Be in a Book from Fresh Off the Boat & Six-Word Memoirs!
The Six-Word Memoir project and ABC’s acclaimed series, Fresh Off the Boat  invite you to share your story for a new book, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America, publishing  in fall 2017 from Kingswell/Disney Publishing. We believe this book’s simple and inclusive form will offer powerful and fascinating perspectives on coming to America — stories of safe havens, long journeys, complex transitions, and customs brought into this country by the millions of immigrants who indeed make America great.

Who has a Six Words Fresh Off the Boat story? Everyone.
We are seeking the widest range of stories possible, stories from the lens of immigrants and their descendants, as well as anyone who has a family story of coming to America. In other words, all of us have a story to share. We’ll also be including a number of “backstories,” more information below.

Writers are welcome to submit a memoir in their native language (so long as the English translation is six words).

A few examples:

Immigrant. Worker. Sole provider. Extraordinary Woman. —Jackie Childress

Grandma’s apron sailboats docked in kitchens. —Dan Campbell

A secret life because of immigration. —Kimberly G., age 11

Emerged educated emigrated immigrated. Elected. Elated. —Adam Killeya

Russian immigrant learns English, becomes MD.— Nataliya Garrison

Feuding with three family members? Persian. —Nahnatchka Khan, showrunner, Fresh Off the Boat

Another Greek Odyssey, thriving in America. —Arianna Huffington

​The deadline for submissions is January 9, 2017, and anyone can share a story on sixwordmemoirs.com/fotb or send an email to fotb@sixwordmemoirs.com.

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Rad! The Top Six Favorite Fads

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A fad may fizzle, but does it ever truly fade? For SixContest #85, we invited you to share Six Words on your favorite fads of all time. Your stories prove what once was old often becomes new again — often with a “retro chic” flare to its modern reincarnation (“Flannel, Converse, let’s rock the 80’s!” by Kymarie). From gadgets (“Smart watches tell the same time.” —@burb58 via Twitter) and crazes (“Naked troll dolls. Every hair color!” —elmc) to stranger things (“The Dancing Baby creeped me out.” —ADHDean), you had fun with these blasts from the past.

These Top Six are all the rage:

6. “Time Warp: Rocky Horror remake coming!” —jebcrg
5. “Walkman. Stopping to flip the cassette.” —JRE23
4. “Still miss my Members Only jacket.” —@KevinWohler (via Twitter)
3. “Pac-Man memories make my elbow hurt.” —RedStickWriter
2. “Pet Rock convinced me anything’s possible.” —LotLessMonster

And cheers to a fad that pairs trendy with timeless…

1. “Spent adolescence teasing bangs and boys.” —Neesha101

Congratulations to Neesha101, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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Memoirist of the Month—October 2016: Andrew H.

“I was immediately struck by the incredible balance between simplicity and depth of expression that can be achieved by story telling using only six words. It offered me a way to begin developing and sharing my own stories. Six-Word Memoirs has been instrumental in helping me gain confidence in how to tell a story.”

Name: Andrew H.

Place: British Columbia, Canada

SMITH Member Since: March 2015

Andrew H. unveils himself through his 600-plus memoirs as curious, reflective, and a consummate gentleman. Known by the Six Words community as tagishcharley, Andrew is an optimist (“Spring hopes eternal. Hope springs eternal.”) and a family man who playfully enjoys being a grandparent (“My Grandkids run on solar energy.”). Although he often writes about solitary moments (“I seek simpler things in life”), it’s clear that time shared with others is treasured (“Remembering friends I’ve known and lost.”). He won SixContest #84 with his Six Words on Character (“Finding and following a purposeful path”), which Character Day 2016 organizers featured in their event recap newsletter. While he’s learned many valuable lessons (“Life’s accumulated assets cannot be inherited”), Andrew still has a lot of living to do. Congratulations to Andrew H. as our Memoirist of the Month for October 2016. You’ll see why we find Andrew endearing as he answers our Six Questions:

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Top Six Memoirs to Celebrate Character

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Character informs how we think and behave. We all have “character,” but it’s the personal experiences that make our character strengths unique and play an important role in our successes. For SixContest #84, in honor of Character Day, we asked you to capture character with the Six-Word challenge: “What does “character” mean to you?” Character Day founder Tiffany Shlain reminds us that our character strengths evolve, offering room for growth and personal development (“We are all works in progress.” —@tiffanyshlain via Twitter).

Wake Forest University Office of Student Engagement included #CharacterIn6Words in their #CharacterDay2016 event to help students identify what’s at the heart of character:

#characterin6words #wfucharacterday

A photo posted by Engagementwfu (@engagementwfu) on

The winner of our Flash Contest on Twitter will receive a copy of The Best Advice in Six Words (“Edit the bad. Embellish the good.” —@KathrynDiPasqua).

Although Character Day 2016 is over, these Top Six memoirs highlight the values and qualities we should continue to develop year-round:

6. “Moving mountains with persistence, overcoming resistance.” —mzejay

5. “Living your truth, accepting your flaws.” —ChristineMacdonald

4. “I am badass, not half ass.” —Danir

3. “True character: revealed when one’s alone.” —JoC.

2. “Doing what’s right, not what’s popular.” —rsqdogsmom

And the character-filled Six Words we all can live by:

1. “Finding and following a purposeful path.” —tagishcharley

Honorable Mention goes to Middle School teacher @elizurb3, who jumped early into the #CharacterIn6Words conversation and brought fellow educators and students along with her (including these gems: “Responsibility leads the way in life” and “Small acts of leadership change lives”). 

Congratulations to tagishcharley, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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