Our nutty notion was this: let’s kick off 2017 on a positive note! So for SixContest #90, we asked for Six-Word Memoirs on how you keep hope alive. You shared advice on staying optimistic (“Each day is a fresh start.” –WouldBeNovelist) and meaningful sources of inspiration (“When chemo works, then there’s HOPE.” –jl333). Some of these encouraging memoirs enjoyed widespread favor (“Hope whispers you’re worthy of success.” –@bookbabie) and many of you found promise in life’s little pleasures (“Hope arrives on little kitty feet.” –nsbpoet). Read these top six memoirs and you won’t stop believin’:
6. “We’ll laugh about this one day.” –Oh_Skinny
5. “People working on global warming solutions.” –JRE23
4. “Keeping glass full. Like bottomless mimosas.” –Susan_Breeden
3. “Transforming America from ‘me’ to ‘we.’” —@taralazar
2. “Hope springs paternal. Love my kids.” —tagishcharley
And the winning entry that is hope materialized…
1. “Teen battling cancer marries his sweetheart.” —Lori_Romero
Congratulations, Lori_Romero, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
For SixContest #89, we invited you to bid farewell to 2016 with a Six-Word eulogy. 2016 was a year of epic tragedies (“Aleppo my heart weeps for you.” —@jennfel) and celebrated triumphs (“Cubs won World Series, Holy Cow.” —BHolt), although it will be remembered mostly for the former and not the latter (“2016 heartaches continue to bitter end.” —@hikealot2014). Politics and celebrity deaths grabbed the majority of this year’s headlines—likewise for your Six-Word eulogies (“Iconic artists died; con artist elected.” —Darryl Forman), which spanned the spectrum of opinions (“Election is over, whining is not.” —Judy_Gray and “Donald Trump Won. We All Lost.” —raymundo). By most accounts, 2016 was a surreal year that many are still attempting to digest (“What do you mean no do-overs?” —@JosephMBlank). Whatever your assessment of the year, it was truly remarkable (“Historians will have a field day.” —liberata). Introducing our Top Six Eulogies for 2016:
6. “The undertaker drew a heavy sigh.” —TheatreGeek
5. “2017 has easy shoes to fill.” —@GylGrinberg
4. “In lieu of flowers, send scotch.” —Oh_Skinny
3. “Here lies 2016: The Talent-Slayer Extraordinaire.” —jeneralizing
2. “Be gone Monkey, hello Rooster Year!” —Ghostwriter4love
And introducing the most eloquent eulogy for 2016:
1. “Humanity’s ready to turn the page.” —FKA_Liza
Congratulations to FKA_Liza and thanks to all who participated. Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com— keep on Sixing!
“I visit the site when something big happens, when I want to check the pulse and ‘weigh in,’ such as the death of Harper Lee or the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass killings.”
Name: Josephine “Josie” Cannella
Place: Avon, Connecticut
SMITH Member Since: September 2014
Josie Cannella has a lovely way of telling complex stories in just six words. With more than 450 Six-Word Memoirs since she joined us two years ago as JoC., she’s quick to post about current events (“Argentina’s Italian Native Son: humanity’s father”) and how they impact her personally (“Together 22 years; married only four.”). Josie’s memoirs about growing older are as poignant (“Childless. My mom’s now my baby.”) as they are pragmatic (“Acquire stuff. Age. Let stuff go.”). Congratulations to Josie Cannella as our Memoirist of the Month for January 2017. Learn more about Josie’s love of poetry and alliteration as she answers our Six Questions:
At Branchburg Central Middle School in Branchburg, New Jersey, one of the primary goals for educator Suzanne Updegrove is to get students thinking in innovative ways and developing their problem-solving skills: “It’s not about getting the right answer, it’s about getting them to think creatively or divergently.” Ms. Updegrove teaches students throughout the middle school grades (sixth through eighth), and at all academic levels, with a speciality in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) instruction, as well as enrichment areas.
She has been using Six-Word Memoirs in the classroom for nearly four years. “I use it as an opening activity when kids come into my room. We use Six Words monthly, and sometimes weekly, typically on a Monday or a Friday, just to get them thinking,” she says. “I use different kinds of openers with my students every day: math things one day, brainteasers another day, two-minute mysteries, and spontaneous problems where they have to put word associations together— including writing Six-Word Memoir.”
Many of our favorite memories are defined through music. For SixContest #88, in honor of the 5th anniversary concert hosted by our friends at Guitar Mash, we asked for your favorite music moments in Six Words. Some memoirs describe where their passion for music began (“First time I saw Les Miserables.” —caralongwrites) while others set the stage for legendary performances (“Elton John, bicycle shorts, piano dancer.” —zsuzsu). Whether your favorite moments describe personal feats (“Became director of my favorite musical!” —Maeva) or capture your life’s soundtrack (“In Vietnam on Armed Forces Radio.” —wsupton), we agree with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: “How can you pick just one?” —@BPOrchestra (via Twitter).
These Top Six Moments in Music will make you wish you were there…
6. “Sade warned me about smooth operators.” —Neesha101
5. “Watched men cry during Arcade Fire.” —ChewyD2
4. “My shower covers were surprisingly good.” —lisakw
3. “I’ve kept every single concert stub.” —JRE23
2. “Beastie Boys pit, 8 months pregnant.” —MsKillie
And the Top Music Moment that is treasured more than ever…
1. “Unspeakable silence, Leonard Cohen’s third encore.” —sisterpoet
Congratulations, sisterpoet, and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
“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!”
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:
At 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.
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 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
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 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!
“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…”
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: