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

Be in a Book from Fresh Off the Boat & Six-Word Memoirs!
ABC’s acclaimed series, Fresh Off the Boat, and Larry Smith’s popular Six-Word Memoir project, invite you to share your story for a new book, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Assimilation and Identity, out in fall 2017 from Kingswell/Disney Publishing.

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. A few examples:

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

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

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

Russian immigrant learns English, becomes MD.— Nataliya Garrison

Docks, boats in water. Hope floats. —Susan Staffeld

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

Mom’s recipes get ruined by me. —Randall Park, actor, Fresh Off the Boat 

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Rad! The Top Six Favorite Fads


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—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


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—keep on Sixing!

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Mrs. Kochheiser’s Sixth Grade Students at Waverly East Intermediate School in Lansing, Michigan


Waverly East Intermediate School in Lansing, Michigan is a one-to-one school, with an emphasis on the ways that technology can enhance learning and self-expression. Sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher Kristin Kochheiser explores this intersection with passion, recently introducing Six-Word Memoirs with her Language Arts classes to do so.

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Mrs. Kochheiser came across Six-Word Memoirs while training to become a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project during the summer of 2014. She and her fellow consultants-in-training were assigned to write a Six-Word Memoir. “I thought it was so neat! I liked the focus on how few words you really need to portray a large message.”

Six-Word Memoirs was easily adapted to Kochheiser’s classroom plans: “I was looking to put together digital and visual media with words: Six-Word Memoirs was the perfect fit to do that.” The assignment lasted three weeks and used technology in a number of of ways.

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The Top Six Memoirs About Nature


In our busy lives, sometimes we forget to enjoy the natural splendor of the world around us. For SixContest #83, we asked you to immerse yourself in the many wonders of nature—in Six Words. Some advised on the importance of preserving our environment (“Nurture well what nature gives you.” –maryjane31), while others reminded us that our surroundings are not always carefree (“Nature stormed in, stole my world.” —sisterpoet, with a backstory below about the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy). But the overwhelming sentiment was heartfelt appreciation for our natural world and the beauty it brings to our lives.

Introducing our Top Six favorites from this contest:

6. “Mother Nature: sometimes beautiful, sometimes cruel.” —CuzinVin

5. “Earth: Your place or mine? Ours.” —l8leigh

4. “Hiking is nature’s road to tranquility!” —@bobbistanley (via Twitter)

3. “Before Netflix, I binge watched Nature.” —Neesha101

2. “Despite the storms, I will blossom.” —@oopsalittle (via Twitter)

And a natural fit for the top spot…

1. “Got lost in nature. Found myself.” —anpsmn

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

Ed. Note: sisterpoet’s backstory: “Superstorm Sandy destroyed my shore home. My life was never the same. It took me a long while to even drive on the parkway. Eventually, I was able to go to events or places I had been to but it was difficult. Just recently, I’ve worked my way up to a 10 day stay. When I am alone, on the beach, I cry for what is lost and what will never be. My children had the privilege of a life of summer ease as did I. No future generation of ours will. We have no place on this shore to make new memories. The ocean came in and wiped us clean. We have no choice but to start again.”

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Memoirist of the Month—September 2016: Cara Jean Spittle Long

“Six Words gives me the opportunity to write every day, without excuse. The writing from the other Sixer’s inspires me to write, live life, to dream, and to find laughter. Six-Word Memoirs read like poetry to me, with so many layers in these short stories.”


 Cara Jean Spittle Long
Place: Eagle Mountain, Utah
SMITH Member Since: July 2014

About a year after joining Six-Word Memoirs, Cara Long posted a memoir that captures our wish for everyone on our site: “Finding my voice in six words.” Known as caralongwrites, like many Six Words enthusiasts, her literary mind is fluent in wordplay (“I suffer multiple writing personality disorder). After two years and 600+ memoirs, the voice Cara shares with us can be as enchanting (“Wearing your lingering scent of goodbye”) as it is self-doubting (“Playing whack-a-mole with my childhood insecurities”). Yet Cara’s greatest priorities are reflected in her memoirs about family (“My hands weed where hers cannot”). Congratulations to Cara Long as our Memoirist of the Month for September 2016. Learn more about Cara’s generous heart as answers our Six Questions below.

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Six Words + Lovabull = The #LovabullinSix Campaign


A Collaboration Between Six-Word Memoirs | Lovabull | Thirty-One #LovabullinSix 

It takes just Six Words to make someone think differently. That’s why Six-Word Memoirs collaborated with @pitbullinstagram—featuring an assist from The Huffington Post’s RuffPost—on the #LovabullinSix campaign, bringing awareness about rescue dogs across the globe.

Lovabull is a Columbus-based organization that unites pit bull owners and advocates to create a brighter future for this often misunderstood breed. Founder Aaron Blevins was delighted to use the Six-Word form to raise awareness for his cause. This joint effort between our communities allows us to elevate “the impact we are making on pit bulls and every other lovable and misunderstood animal in the world,” Blevins emphasizes.

The focus of #LovabullinSix is “to affirm the importance of the dogs, the organizations and the people dedicated to the cause of fostering and adoption.” Participants used the hashtag #LovabullinSix when posting their six-word testimonials on Instagram. Entrants were randomly selected to receive prizes of stylish personalized products from Thirty-One.

Sharing these Six-Word stories and compelling images allows everyone to celebrate the love and support for these affectionate, adorable animals. Bully breed advocates were invigorated and those new to the cause were drawn in. Here are six of our favorites in honor of this heartwarming campaign:

From emaciated to the good life. —@mysterypibble

Repost via @mysterypibble – “From emaciated to the good life” ❤️ My #LovabullinSix affirmation goes out to @cali_and_carly. Ivan heard of two abandoned pit bulls and worked with others to quickly save them and get them the care they desperately needed. Cupcake (then Hope) was emaciated and had just given birth. Ivan and the #blüecrüe helped nurse her back to health. They were fostering her and realized she was home with them. Cupcake got the forever family she has always deserved ❤️ Now I challenge @landsharklennie, @carotiger and @loveisapittie to complete their own #LovabullinSix and affirm other wonderful rescues in their life! Join the #LovabullinSix movement by following our Six-Word partners @sixwordselfie, @thirtyone and @abbywalters, and then by visiting (link in @pitbullinstagram bio) to get the simple steps you can take with us to show the world why homeless, misunderstood or labeled animals deserve the chance of a bright future!

A video posted by Pit Bull Instagram (@pitbullinstagram) on

Rescue community brought me best friends. 

“Rescue community brought me best friends.” ❤️ My #LovabullinSix affirmation goes out to @txpibblemom (pictured 📷) and my @ninecrazydogladies. Words can’t express how much I love these ladies. I talk to them all day, everyday, and mostly about dogs (duh). We are a sisterhood! I have this amazing, dog-obsessed @instagram community to thank for guiding me to these strong women. 🔻 The rescue community brings out the best in all of us. Even on a tough day, we strive to do better, and lead purposeful, passionate lives. All for the love of animals that need us. We are a voice for the voiceless, we are a living, breathing mantra of #adoptdontshop, we are the change we want to see in the world. We are awesome and unstoppable, and Angel (@rebeccacorry) will always be a monumental part of it all. Rest easy sweet cookie-loving hippo nugget, we love you. ❤️ 👉 I challenge @ohhellodog and @mysterypibble to join us with their very own #LovabullinSix affirmation. You can join too! Check out the link in @pitbullinstagram bio! (@thirtyone and @sixwordselfie too!)

A photo posted by Sarah Myers- Boyd’s Mom (@hesjustaboyd) on

Showing unconditional love for the misunderstood.

2nd chances are all you need.

Reactive dogs are not bad dogs.


“Reactive Dogs Are Not Bad Dogs” This #LovaBullInSix affirmation goes out to the seriously awesome accounts of @knoxdogyvr, @mangochris, @twoblockheads, @twocitydogs and @rockyandrusko (there are many more, just look for #reactivedogs or #reactivedogsunite) They all have reactive pups or discuss reactivity regularly, and are showing the world that these dogs can be amazing family members. Not only that, but they work completely force free. 💜 I’ve worked with many reactive dogs and there often seems to be such a bad stigma that their owners take a long time to come forward to ask for help. People feel ashamed to admit their dog has issues. Owners feel like their dogs are ‘off’, not normal, or that they are bad owners who can’t get it together. And who can blame them, since in the public eye, people still often judge reactive dogs and their owners as lazy, not knowledgeable enough to deal with the issue, and other things. The reasons for reactivity are manifold, and mostly caused by either frustration or anxiety. The frustration or anxiety regarding other dogs, people, encounters while being leashed, and more, result from improper or no socialization, warning behaviors having been punished in the past so that the dogs now skip the subtle clues and go straight to more aggressive forms of showing their emotional state, and many other factors. The situation for the owners, however, is always the same – constantly having to be watchful, hyper conscious of their surroundings, and trying to ensure their dogs don’t encounter situations that put them over threshold. They continuously work with their pups to make the world a less scary or frustrating place, and to ensure they have many positive, pleasant experiences to modify their behavior slowly. It’s hard work, and they deserve our absolute respect. Even more, they deserve for us to be respectful of their need for space. People with ‘easy’ dogs are often completely unaware of the delicate situations they put reactive dogs in. Don’t ever let your dog approach another dog without permission. Not every dog likes being pummeled by a happy stranger. Let’s get educated and change the perception of reactivity.

A photo posted by Diego (THE Tuff Sausage) (@tuff_sausage) on

From bait dog to bed hog.

“From ​b​ait dog to ​b​ed hog” ​We’re spreading awareness of the #LovabullinSix movement​ to show the world why homeless, misunderstood or labeled animals deserve the chance of a bright future! ​LoveabullinSix is using captions with 6 WORDS to change hearts in our communities ​and ​to ultimately make an even larger, more localized impact.​ ​Our six words​ above ​sum up the story of this #PBCAmbassaDog, Oscar de la Renta. They describe what we’ve always felt about #rescuedogs: That they are bundles of possibility just waiting to happen. Now ​we challenge ​@wilburties @lukewesterman34 and @twoblockheads​ to complete their own #LovabullinSix challenge and affirm other beautiful rescued dogs​!​ ​Please follow​ the Six-Word partners @sixwordselfie, @thirtyone and @abbywalters, and then by visiting to get the simple steps you can take with us. #pitbulls #pittie2020 #pitbulllove #pitbulladvocate #projectbluecollar ​#supporttheunderdog #pitbullsinstagram

A photo posted by @pittie2020 on

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Ms. Ahmed’s Second Grade Art Class at Classical Charter Schools in Bronx, New York

IMG_4620-1Students in Zafirah Ahmed’s second grade art class have the freedom to allow their creativity and imagination to blossom at Classical Charter Schools in the South Bronx, New York. When Ahmed discovered Six-Word Memoirs recently (thanks to me, her sister and Six Words intern) she was excited to share the simplicity of the six-word form with these young students as a new way to inspire creative expression.

Ahmed introduced Six-Word Memoirs during the last week of school, asking students to write about their favorite projects and moments during the school year. This reflection on their journey of craft and creativity required a bit of thought and conversation in the classroom.

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