We are the authors of our own stories. For SixContest #78— inspired by Mary Elizabeth Williams’ new book, A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles, whose memoir about battling Stage IV Melanoma begins“SPOILER: I lived.” — we invited you to share the spoilers of your lives in Six Words. Some spoilers reflect your fantasies (“SPOILER: Discovered my superpower, saved world.” —Stella_Matutina), while others reveal sobering realities (“SPOILER: His manly chest scar is melanoma.” —Margot, Ed. Note:see below for backstory). Spoilers are often about life-changing moments (“SPOILER: The pee stick turned blue.” @popazza via Twitter), and sometimes they help us distinguish fact from fiction (“SPOILER: Larry and Piper get married!” —Larry_D._Smith). Whatever the future holds (“Spoiler: Aged, but never grew up.” —ComicBookMom), don’t let spoilers ruin the story for you.
Introducing the Top Six spoilers that leave us wanting more of the story:
And of the hundreds of entries, the spoiler that is most timely:
1. “SPOILER: Over this rainbow lies hope.” —Dyan_Titchnell [Ed. Note: see below for backstory]
Backstory from Dyan_Titchnell: “Peace to Orlando and those beyond.”
Backstory from Margot: “I was published in your amazing book It All Changed in an Instant. Since my first Epilogue story I have (in six): “Met the man of my dreams” had a daughter and have been “Reciting Dad’s Eulogy in my head” after my Dad passed away last year. I’m very attached to your latest request for Six Word Spoilers in conjunction with Mary Elizabeth Williams. My husband endured a surface spreading melanoma on his chest. Not from sun bashing. Just because. Who knows why? My sister is a Beauty Therapist. She saw it first. A tiny little blemish that looked angry. In her words – “get that looked at as soon as possible.” I’ll never forget the conversation we had after he had gone to the skin clinic and they confirmed it. Melanoma. Cancer. He was calm, rational but scared. I was irrational, yelling at the world but trying to remain positive. He had surgery the next week to remove it. As the Doc said “No time to spare for you.” Another six! The scar on his chest is impressive and people ask. We like to embellish. We tell stories. But not the real one.”
The personal histories that shape our families reach far and wide. For SixContest #77 — inspired by Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin star Diane Guerrero’s new memoir, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided — we invited you to share your own family stories in just six words. Each family is a collection of journeys (“Left everything behind. Crossed oceans. Lived.” —@MaggyTheBrave via Twitter). Some families are defined by adversity (“In the shadow of the Holocaust.” —Frieda W. Landau via Facebook), others by hope (“Homesteaders, refugees, immigrants. Moved for opportunity.”
—@EugeneEvon via Twitter, Ed. Note: click link for the accompanying photo). In some cases,
One of the most meaningful collaborations in our Six in the City: Columbus initiative has been with David Brown’s Harmony Project, a community choir based in Columbus, Ohio, comprised of different races, ages, cultures, orientations and affiliations. This past winter, Harmony’s student choir shared their take on what being beautiful means in six words. Students from public, private and charter schools across Columbus spent a day together answering the question, “Why I Am Beautiful?” This video — where students sing a rendition of Moby’s “Beautiful,” intercut with images of their Six-Word Memoirs on beauty — captures the alluring energy of connecting diverse perspectives through collaboration.
The Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, sets out to prepare its students to “transform the world creatively.” It is no wonder, then, that Six-Word Memoirs has found a place at this prestigious arts school.
“I pop onto Six-Word Memoirs every day or so for inspiration, to catch up on heartwarming stories of truth, current events and contests. I adore the connectivity the site provides. I am constantly amazed how one six-word sentence can spark inspiration and evoke emotion.”
Name: Christine Macdonald Place: Long Beach, California SMITH Member Since: January 2011
Glorious days are upon the next generation of scholars. For SixContest #76, we offer a gift of wise words from those who are making their procession this graduation season. Remember that life is unpredictable (“Embrace the world, even its thorns.” —SouthPorch) and sometimes the best advice is tried and true (“Relax. Tomorrow the real work begins.” @MarielleMondon via Twitter). In the end, you will find your purpose — your sweat and tears will not go to waste (“You’re enough to change the world.” —@asraimun via Twitter).
Introducing the Top Six commencement speeches:
6. “Use your vacation days. Always. Often.” —Lizasighs
5. “Enjoy the grace period before loans.” —@ktbbug (via Twitter)
4. “Remember those who rally behind you.” —paristexas
“Student dedicated every day, student driven in every way.”
The teachers at Ozark High School in Ozark, Missouri, work hard to fulfill their school’s motto. One such educator, Sandi Criswell, was quick to adopt the six-word form as a tool to drive home the school’s mission, and get to know her students better along the way.
Although a mother’s love is cherished throughout the year, on the second Sunday of May, we celebrate moms everywhere. In SixContest #75, we asked you to complete the prompt “I always call my mom when…” Turns out mothers are renowned as the keepers of family traditions (click link for backstory: “…wanting to unlock her secret recipes.” —PoeticPisces). We often reach out to the women who gave us life when we want to share our successes (“…I get a post as MOTD.” —caralongwrites). Sometimes mothers are a handful (“…I have forty-five minutes to spare.” —Poser), but most often, the bonds with our moms are eternal (“Though she’s gone, conversations carry on.” —ggirl60).
Here are the Top Six reasons to reach out to mom:
6. “…I need a partner in crime.” —@ShelbyWoodz (via Twitter)
“The most beautiful Sixes I have ever read on this site were posted well after midnight, when the writers’ hopes and fears are unchained. I write more easily late at night, so that’s when I do most of my own sixing.”
Name: Jamie W. (aka Maeva) Place: Northern Virginia SMITH Member Since: May 2015 Just one year ago, Jamie W. found her voice and a safe haven at Six-Word Memoirs. Known in the Six Words community by her lifelong nickname, Maeva, childhood adversity meant that she grew up much too fast (“Forced to ride without training wheels.”). She proves that you can tell compelling stories and deliver plot twists in just six words (“More foster homes than birthday parties.”). With more than 700 memoirs to date, Maeva has impressed our most seasoned Sixers with her literary dexterity (“Love dog-earing pages in my story.”) and sophisticated voice (“Laughs our symphonies. Embraces our minuets.”). Congratulations to Jamie W. as our Memoirist of the Month for May, 2016. Read through Jamie’s answers to our Six Questions and discover what makes her triumphant:
One of the many surprises the Six-Word Memoir community has brought to me, each other and those outside the virtual walls of this space is how it responds to death, whether it’s a death directly effecting one of our own in the community or that of someone famous out there in the world. I’ve always said that some of the best Sixes—or any form of stories we tell—come in times of great happiness and great sorrow. (The one time I myself was made “Memoirist of the Day” was when I shared, “Hitchhiked to delivery room; blizzard boy!” when my son was born.)
If you happened to wake up very late on April 21 and went to SixWordMemoirs.com before seeing or hearing the news, you’d still know the story that shocked the world: Prince had died. In the minutes, hours and days that followed, Sixers shared their thoughts on the incomparable Prince. One week after his death—and an deluge of tributes across the world—here are six six-word tributes (some sixes include wonderful backstories if you click through).