RIP Prince: We Put The Right Letters Together

Cover-PurpleRainOne 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 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).

Purple Rain running down my cheeks. —MO_Thoughts2

Thinking back on brush with Prince. —G. Austin (backstory)

Lovesexy: soundtrack of summer of ’88.Larry_D._Smith (backstory)

Prince, Hendrix playing  Purple Rain, Haze. —@hikealot2014

Reign, “Rain.” The pain won’t wane. —@KathrynDiPasqua

RIP Prince: Nothing compares to you. —ChristineMacdonald

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The Top Rhymes in Six Words


Microphone check—one, two, one, two. If you like to rhyme, SixContest #74 is for you. Our entries were lyrical (“Lots of bling, never my thing.” —Susan_Breeden) and a few spun political (“Not enthusiastic about selections this election.” —maryjane31). Some of our scribes brought the throwback vibe (“Hotel. Motel. Old school. Too cool.” —Bevvie) and a shout-out “like” by MC Hammer left us feeling enamored. Here are the Top Six rhymes we found sublime:

6. “Those who rule us, fool us.” —@lynco (via Twitter)

5. “I tried. She died. I cried.” —babsalot (Ed. Note: see below for this poignant backstory)

4. “Prince has passed. Rain will last.” —torturedbutterfly

3. “Hearts my igniter, dreams my empire.” —justinchance

2. “Her auburn hair kept me there.” —caralongwrites

And the one who threw down and took the crown . . .

1. “Being an enigma is my stigma.” —@EugeneEvon (via Twitter)

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

Backstory to “I tried. She died. I cried.” —babsalot
“This is for Shari, who took her own life. I knew she was going to do it when she found a home for her beloved dog. I warned her family. They didn’t believe me. I have felt guilty every day since. RIP my amazing friend.”

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Classroom of the Month: 6th Grade ELA classes at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Central Falls, Rhode Island

What’s at the heart of Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Mayoral Academy charter schools in Central Falls, Rhode Island? PRIDE. “Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, and Enthusiasm” are the core values that guide their students who are proudly referred to as scholars.

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Top Stump Speech in Six Words

First Day As President

Although Inauguration day is mere months away, it remains tough to predict who will preside in the Oval Office next January. For SixContest #73, we asked if you were seeking the highest office in the land, what promises would you make to prospective voters? From the idealistically ludicrous (“Give every citizen ten millon dollars!” –Matt_LoGuercio) to the genuinely achievable (“We women get that equal pay.” –JAD), these entries also reflect that the norms of society are evolving (“First Lesbian President’s spouse: Second Lady?” –JoC.). The Six Words community has spoken — here are the Top Six stump speeches:

6. “Patiently telling people it’s ‘Madam’ President…” —elmc

5. “I would just declare World Peace.” —LotLessMonster

4. “…the missiles fly, delivering love! LOVE!” —@rusmclaughlin (via Twitter)

3. “I’d paint the White House pink.” —@MertonKidd (via Twitter)

2. “So much winning you’ll miss losing” —@RealDonalDrumpf (via Twitter)

And the Six-Word stump speech that really delivers . . .

1. “All candidates to compete on Jeopardy.” —Lizasighs

Backstory that accompanies our top entry: “All candidates to compete on Jeopardy. Get rid of the dog and pony shows that have become American campaigns and debates. Where a lot is said, but nothing is, really. The winner will donate their winnings to a charity of their choice. Some suggested categories: The U.S. Constitution Foreign Policy Who lied? Healthcare Economics They said what?! Civil rights Geography Who hates us? World history Literature Miss Manners says Ecology World religions Batshit crazy, crazy, or crazy like a fox? A candidate’s name will appear as the answer. Potent potables [Ed. Note: a popular Jeopardy category].”

Congratulations to @Lizasighs 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: April 2016—Eric Skinner

“Like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, the fried chicken gets us to the table, but the family experience keeps us there — even with the weird uncle, the in-your-face political cousin, and the cheek-smooching great-aunt. They’re all here at SMITH, and none of us can deny their loving, caring, fussing allure.”

FullSizeRenderName: Eric Skinner
Place: Nashville, Tennessee
SMITH Member Since: July 2014

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Top College Pride In Six Words


The national phenomenon known as March Madness is well underway. With millions of brackets already busted before we got to the Sweet Sixteen, we asked you to go beyond picks and tell us what makes your favorite college a winner. Some of you recalled the good times (“College Mascots; Lover boys in disguise.” —JAD), while others captured the legacy (“Three generations nurtured by Alma Mater.” —zsuzsu) and established yourselves as true diehards (“Why more parity? My Women Huskies!!!” —JoC.). Here are the Top Six ways our community showcased their college pride:

6. “FIT girl: forever fashionable and fun.” —sisterpoet
(Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY)
5. “A Blue Devil living in heaven.” —Savita
(Duke University)
4. “My heart swells hearing ‘Hail Purdue.'” —Audrey Jordan via Facebook
(Purdue University)
3. “Taking pride in being called COCKY!” —jene2008
(Jacksonville State University Gamecocks)
2. “Karen Walker Is Our Saltiest Alum” —@notabbynormal (via Twitter)
(Sarah Lawrence College)

And the Six Words that made us want to attend your school…

1. “Learned to love Tolstoy and beer.” —Susan_Breeden
(University of Texas, Austin)

Congratulations to Susan_Breeden and thanks to all who participated! Whether in our SixContests, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or at—keep on Sixing!

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The Top Six Reasons to #UnplugInSixWords


Although Reboot’s “National Day of Unplugging” ran from sundown on March 4 through sundown on March 5, every weekend offers the chance to disconnect from the digital world for 24 hours. Some view it as an opportunity to reconnect in other ways (“I unplug to create better memories.” —ColinBiest), while others seek a much-needed reprieve (“I unplug to avoid the politicians.” —jene2008). Can’t figure out why you should take a break or what to do with your reclaimed time? Whether you take the pledge to get creative, relieve stress, or simply to snuggle up with a book, our Community’s Top Six will make you dream of unplugging 24-7-366 (well, it is a Leap Year):

6. “I unplug to rest my thumbs.” —WouldBeNovelist

5. “I unplug to downward facing dog.” —@jennfel (via Twitter)

4. “I unplug to absorb sensory overload.” —SouthPorch

3. “I unplug to reboot my soul.” —Lynn A. (via Facebook)

2. “I unplug to live the music” —@ChefTalkJim (via Twitter)

…and the best reason to #UnplugInSixWords is…

1. “I unplug to open real windows.” —CanadaGoose

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

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Six Words at Arts and College Preparatory Academy in Columbus, Ohio

IMG_2005Creative expression is a staple in building an innovative educational environment. Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) in Columbus, Ohio, provides progressive, rigorous academic instruction where students are motivated to learn and prepare for college. A hallmark of the ACPA community is allowing students the freedom of full artistic expression and movement in a safe, inclusive climate. These qualities make ACPA the perfect home for Six-Word Memoirs to thrive.

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Memoirist of the Month: March 2016 — Barbara Quintiliano

“I really have to work at ‘packaging’ intimate thoughts and feelings so that they can be shared with a larger audience. Writing sixes has allowed me to do a bit more of that … sort of six-word baby steps toward wider communication.”

Name: Barbara Quintiliano
Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
SMITH Member Since: March 2013 

Whether Barbara Quintiliano is talking about freedom of expression or freedom from anxiety, liberty is at the heart of her thoughts—and her profile name: liberata. Spirituality and philosophy (“New spiritual diet: giving up guilt” and “Act of faith: believing in yourself”) are common themes in Barbara’s memoirs. But it’s her love of music and movement (“Pitbull, Puccini… so I like variety!”) that earn her the unofficial title of resident Zumba ambassador (“Danced away the blues at Zumba”). Congratulations to Barbara Quintiliano as our Memoirist of the Month for March 2016 — the same month she celebrates her third anniversary with Six Words. As Barbara answers our Six Questions, you’ll understand how she quickly came into the fold here:

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Top Six Plans for Leap Day


There is something special about an event that happens only once every four years and we’re not talking about the upcoming election. For SixContest #70 we asked about your plans for those mystical 24 hours of February 29: Leap Day. Some of you long to find humor in the day (“I believe you mean March 0.” —@TheMikeWhite via Twitter) while others want to embrace simple passions (“Adding pages to my life’s story.” —dennyho). We even heard from the U.S. Department of Labor (“Time to learn how apprenticeship works.” —USDOL via Twitter). No matter how you spend your Leap Day, enjoy this gift of time. Here is our Top Six list:

6. “Travelling through time as permission allows.” —Graham Kent (via Facebook)

5. “An extra day before rent’s due.” —RCR000

4. “Embracing the day – Ferris Bueller style!” OR “This year three hundred sixty-six martinis.” —oopsalittle

3. “Celebrating my 44th birthday, or 11th!” —Ajnot

2. “WRITE WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE: Right?” —jodyblonde65

And the best way to spend that extra day…

1. “Plan A? Sex. Plan B? Reading.” —Litsa_Dremousis

Congratulations to Litsa_Dremousis and thanks to all who participated! And join us in sending Leap Year birthday wishes to our friends at Wordnik. Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookInstagramTwitterTumblr or at—keep on Sixing!


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