Memoirist of the Month: October 2015—Neil Slevin

“I visit Six Words almost daily, commenting and favoriting as I go. I like to trawl through each and every six since my last visit. I used to just focus on my own writing, but I’ve really bought in to the idea that Six Words is a community in which we feed each other’s writing and our inspiration for it. ”

Name: Neil SlevinNeilSlevin (1)
Place: County Leitrim, Ireland
SMITH Member Since: August 2013

Coming to us from the writer’s paradise of Ireland, the man who debuted on Six Words as ElvisLinen has since shed that playful anagram to reveal himself, in name and in words, as NeilSlevin. A poet at heart (“Words rise when I am sleeping…”), Neil has a way of channeling tributaries of emotions into waterways of words (“Two boys, crying into their writing”). Our congrats to Neil Slevin as our Memoirist of the Month for October 2015. In just two years he has posted more than 700 memoirs and we suspect this is just the beginning. Read more about Neil’s writing endeavors as he answers our Six Questions:

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Top Sixes That “Taste” Like Fall

SixWordsThatTasteLikeFallFall is upon us, dappling us in golden rays and forcing us to don our jackets once more. With pumpkin spice everything in mind, in SixContest #61 we challenged you to tell us the #SixWordsThatTasteLikeFall. Whether savoring delicious treats (“Frothy cinnamon drinks create autumnal mustache.” –Maeva) or suffering through seasonal allergies (“Ragweed choking air. I can’t breathe.” –MsKillie), your stories made our senses tingle as we hunkered down under blankets alongside you (“Autumn’s cool air whispers sweet nothings” –mytaphrodite). Before the leaves let go of their branchy homes, ‘fall’ into these delightful Six-Word Memoirs with us! —Lauren Jackson

6. “The first honeycrisp, the last tomato.” –shannonholman

5. “Winds whistle as the trees weep.” —@AnnoGalactic (via Twitter)

4. “Let’s get out the Crock Pot.” –@greeneyedlilo (via Twitter)

3. “Summer fades. Nature darkens daylight’s shades.” –CanadaGoose

2. “Replacing open toes with knee highs.” –zsuzsu

And the tastiest fall quip:

1. “Autumn’s harvest simply begs for Cabernet.” —Kalyanii

Congratulations to Kalyanii, and thanks to all who joined in the taste of fall! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at—keep on Sixing!


Still looking to get into the spirit of the season? Read this fantastic backstory submitted by knick-knack:

“Family Apples: The fruits of Autumn” —knick-knack

I got my first, official, real-life grown-up job at the ripe old age of twelve-and-a-half. My uncle owns an apple orchard, and every Saturday for the past hundred years, he loads up his trusty old truck and carts crates upon crates of apples right on down to West Allis, where he rolls out a faux piece of crinkling turf and lays it down on the tables dedicated to our farm. Soon, these tables groan and creak, protesting their burden as they are laden with apples of every shape, color, and size. You have never seen true fall until you gaze upon a farmer’s table. A million hues of red, a thousand types of apple, and I can tell you with absolute certainty which apples to use for butter, which ones will wow in pies, and which ones are best for plain good ol’ snacking on anyday.

This farmers’ market is my home.

It is constantly changing. The honey guy across from us slowly stops coming as winter creeps in. Flashes of color, a roar of voices as the elderly bicker and children race and scream at each new bright thing catches their eye. I know the regulars. I smile at kids and adults alike. I have broken a 100$ bill for a 1$ cup of cider and have slipped people an extra quarter or two when needed. I love it here.

This is my family. Literally my family, the one time I really ever see them, other than Christmas and Mother’s day. But we’re all friends. We’re a family. We’re an orchard.

We are Fall. :)

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Classroom of the Month: Erin Centa’s 12th Grade English Class at Olentangy High School

IMG_4317Looking for a way to engage her senior high school students and help them write personal narratives, Olentangy High School English teacher Erin Centa stumbled upon Six-Word Memoirs six years ago: “I searched for interesting ways to introduce storytelling and your magazine popped up. I loved the idea and have been using it ever since.”

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Your Top Six Dream Jobs Unveiled


Navigating the job market can be as stressful as finding an ideal mate. What if you could script the job that’s perfect for you? In SixContest #60, we gave you the chance (thanks to inspiration from memoirist ADHDean). Your career choices spanned from fantastically hopeful (“Reincarnationist, returning as our spoiled dogs.” –FeyFox) to realistically attainable (“Night club modern jazz piano musician.” –@Bakari45), including some quirky jobs that are long overdue
(“Realism monitor for reality TV shows.” –mzejay). Don’t hit the snooze button yet, some of these “dream” jobs actually sound worth pursuing! –Lauren Jackson

6. “Testing the nap-ability of hammocks worldwide.” –shanny777

5. “Sustainably growing: Food; community; culture; love.” –Anthony Johnson (via Facebook)

4. “Professional dilettante. Photographer. Conde Nast Traveler.”
–@PennySadler (via Twitter)

3. “Fantasy fulfillment of the newly disenchanted.” –ctgoods2

2. “Creating the names for paint colors.” –catsmeow

And the ultimate job of your dreams:

1. “Astronaut, but without all the work.” –@DavidHitt (via Twitter)

Congratulations to @DavidHitt, and thanks to all who joined in the fun. Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at—keep on Sixing!

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Six in the City: Events

Six on the City logo

Hold your own Six-Word meet-up or gathering! Here’s how.

September 12, 2015

Creative Control Fest, 2pm
At Creative Control Fest, a grassroots initiative aimed at offering ideas, inspiration, and resources to the ethnically and culturally diverse talent from the Columbus area’s art and design sector, Larry Smith talks about how he turned his storytelling passion into a profession with SMITH Magazine. At the end of the talk, all are invited to share six-word stories about Columbus in an interactive “Six-Word Story Slam.”

September 13, 2015
Open Streets Columbus, 12-4pm
Imagine your very own urban playground. That’s Open Streets Columbus,  happening September 13th in downtown Columbus from 12-4 pm. Open Streets closes 0.6 miles of Fourth St.(between Main St. and Broad St.) opening the roads up for walking, biking, rollerskating badminton, extra-large Jenga and Twister, a rock climbing wall, roller skating, yoga, and more. Connecting it all: sharing six-word stories about what “open Columbus” means to you.

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Memoirist of the Month: September 2015—Andrea Forgnone

“I began reading through memoirs, comments and loved what I read. There was a humanness here. I could read between the lines. The Six-Word Memoirs felt like epic novels.”

Name: Andrea Forgnone
Place: San Diego, California
SMITH Member Since: July 2012

vista verde summerAndrea Forgnone has an affinity for capturing life’s everyday moments and embracing them as milestones. Her Six-Word Memoirs are ripe with emotion (“Dear Dad, I miss you terribly.”) and rich with images and backstories (“I was sixteen, going on seventeen.”). Since joining us in 2012, our Six Words community has been enhanced by mytaphrodite’s heartfelt comments and equal-opportunity encouragement. Our congratulations to Andrea Forgnone as our Memoirist of the Month for September 2015. Read more as she answers our Six Questions—you’ll discover why Andrea is there whether you need a boost of confidence, a listening ear, or a celebratory beer.

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SixContest Pitches: We Asked, You Answered!


Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching—which means the unofficial end of summer—so Team Six Words took a quick breather and passed our thinking caps over to you! With no theme off-limits for SixContest #59, “In Six Words, Pitch a SixContest,” your ideas ranged from personal (“We’re not perfect. Six your weakness.” —mytaphrodite) and political (“Most interesting campaign slogans in Six.” —Maeva) to nostalgic (“Describe your favorite teacher in six.” —ksan) and thoughtful (“The ultimate compliment, give or take.” —TeaTopper). We might need another break to recover because your incredible responses made it nearly impossible for us to pick a Top Six this week!

6. “Your original pick-up line, in six!” —elmc

5. “The worst love story ever told.” —@sarahsayswrite (via Twitter)

4. “If I were class president I’d…” —ShellDeFelice

3. “The best advice you never followed.” —G_Austin

2. “Your most creative excuse in Six?” —L2L3

And the winning pitch, which will inspire our next SixContest, is…

1. “Describe your dream job in Six.” —ADHDean

Congratulations, ADHDean, and thanks to everyone who made this new spin on our SixContest a success. Not only did ADHDean inspire our next contest, he’ll also receive a copy of our latest book in the best-selling Six-Word Memoirs series, The Best Advice in Six Words, due out November 3, 2015. Start thinking of those #SixWordDreamJob entries, but first, give yourself a well-deserved break and save them until SixContest #60 begins on August 31.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: With so many intriguing pitches, we’ve decided to feature more of your ideas in the coming months—with proper attribution, of course. Keep an eye out to see if your pitch becomes a future SixContest!]

Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at—keep on Sixing!

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Top “Bad” Poems in Six Words

Good poetry can be fulfilling, but bad poetry can be utterly entertaining! For SixContest #58, in honor of National Bad Poetry Day, we asked for your best of the worst in just Six Words. There were cleverly terrible spins on old classics (“A talking raven? Seriously? Well, nevermore.” —MelB) and a bounty of beautifully awkward verses (“Poetry not my thing. Beer, maybe.” —jermball30), reminding us all why bad poetry is such fun (“Will miss daily Bad Poetry laughs.” —Kharis). With over 500 entries on our site and more submissions via social media, this contest is proof that being bad can be oh-so-good! —Abbie Martin Greenbaum

6. “You want a Bad poem? Here.” – NumbrOneAunt

5. “Divorce
Pocket change is what’s left” —@sethpetersonla (via Twitter)

4.  “I choose path of least resistance.”— phant 

3. “I Hunger
For You
Like Brunch” —@davidhitt (via Twitter)

2.  “It’s all, ya know, so deep.”  —  JoC.

And the baddest poem of all…

1. “Pregnancy poem: Peeing Is So Satisfying.” —jellyfishmum

And let’s not forget this Honorable Mention from Instagram — brought to life as a @sixwordselfie:

Congratulations, jellyfishmum, and thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at—keep on Sixing!

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Classroom of the Month: Reilley Thayer’s Creative Writing Class At Hargrave Military Academy


Thayer’s Creative Writing Class, room 214

Browsing potential new lesson ideas online, Reilley Thayer discovered Six­-Word Memoirs and introduced the concept to her Creative Writing Class at Hargrave Military Academy, a private military boarding school in Chatham, Virginia. Thayer’s students, who ranged from seventh to tenth grade, participated as part of an intensive summer school program for middle school and high school credit.

Her students explored lengthy memoirs, as well as  Ernest Hemingway’s legendary six-word novel — “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” — which sparked a lot of debate. The students came up with an array of backstories, including a kidnapping, a murder, a couple who did not want children, or perhaps could not have children, and the loss of a child. Later, the class viewed YouTube videos of Six-Word Memoirs from other classrooms and reflected on which ones impressed them most. Thayer asked her to students look closely at the style and structure of longer-form memoirs. After much studying and extensive writing assignments, her students’ eyes widened when they were asked to imagine condensing all they had written in previous papers into just six words.

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Six in the City—How to Hold a Meet-up

Six in the City- 6logo-NS

Since 2006, Six-Word Memoirs (, a project of SMITH Magazine, has helped people tell moving and insightful stories in just six words. In June 2015, Six-Word Memoirs launched Six in the City, a program that brings Six-Word Memoirs to cities across the country as a tool for civic engagement. Columbus, Ohio, is our launch city.

An important part of Six in the City will be the meetups found in communities, neighborhoods and cultural pockets in your area. That’s where you come in. We want those who live and breathe Columbus life to gather the people in their local scenes and cultivate conversations about what this city means to them, boiling it down to six words. This sample package for how a gathering at a food/drink scene could go (be it at a restaurant to your own home) is merely a jumping-off point. Think of the people you know and the places you go that would enable a creative, passionate and conversational meet-up. Use this guide to help create the Six in the City: Columbus event that’s ideal for you and your group.

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