“cold fingers are worse than autocorrect!”—The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

Best Sixes image 20141121You don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fan to know: Winter Is Coming. This week, Sixers across the country bonded over the big chill. Most lamented the cold front (“Acclimatization unlikely. Extreme cold warrants hibernation.”) and it’s early-to-the-party arrival (“And thus it begins. So-called ‘Wonderland.’”). And one Sixer held onto the light at the end of the (freezing) tunnel: provisions and simple comforts will get us through this arctic season (“Today I’m thankful for over-the-knee socks.”). —Caroline Goldstein

Most digitally-challenged:  Cold fingers are worse than autocorrect!” —Raven_OKeefe

Most grateful: Today I’m thankful for over-the-knee socks.” —favepeep

Best tongue-in-cheek: And thus it begins. So-called ‘Wonderland.’” –enginethatcould

Least acclimated: “Words struggle to exit frigid fingertips.” —Ellis_Reyes

Best narrative arc: “Acclimatization unlikely. Extreme cold warrants hibernation.” —CanadaGoose

Most cheerful: Silly grin frozen on my face.” —Jugggler

Plus! Final days to share your gratitude in just Six Words! Share your entries for our SixContest #40: “What you are thankful for in Six” by Wednesday, 11/26 by 3pm ET!


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Classroom Of The Month: Catherine Dison’s Ninth-Grade English Class At The Wellington School

 Preview of “Part of two very different worlds.pdf”

When Catherine Dison came across Six-Word Memoirs, she knew it was something she had to introduce to her ninth graders at The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio. “I loved the combination of words and image, and of course the challenge of packing as much as possible into six words,” says Dison, an English teacher for the past 27 years.

The Six-Word template is not only a useful method of breaking the ice, but it also teaches English students the beauty of simplicity, and the power of clear diction. “Creating a Six-Word Memoir requires students to think carefully about the words they choose and the message they convey,” Dison says. “I do not have to tell them not to use unnecessary words, because they are already discovering which words they need.”

ninth grade memoir group

The process of creating a Six-Word Memoir can be an alternately satisfying and frustrating process, and Dison’s students experienced the gamut of these emotions. Some students felt inspired to “take a bold risk and put something very personal in their memoir,” knowing full well that their final Sixes would be on display in the school library (albeit anonymously)—other students spent much of their time “in the brainstorming stage,” stumped by the initial challenge of what aspect of themselves to include in their memoirs.

Dison’s assignment was simply for her students to write a Six-Word Memoir,  but some students were so energized by the exercise that “they returned the next day with beautiful pictures that they had drawn, complete with their final six words.” These insightful illustrated Sixes, some of which are included below, provided the students and teachers of The Wellington School with a source of daily inspiration. As the students walked through the gallery of Sixes in the learning center, they “enjoyed looking through all of them and trying to guess the authors.” Dison, too, was struck by “how fitting so many of them were to the student—once I had connected each student with his or memoir, they were linked pretty clearly in my mind.  I could walk through the learning center, pick out any memoir on the wall, and immediately call to mind its author.”

Somewhere in this big wide world

Make yesterday's wishes become today's reality

dison six3

dison six6

Just one look at this collection of illustrated Sixes proves that Six Words can be both inspiring and motivational.

Teachers! Since we first launched the Six-Word Memoir project, educators across the spectrum have found Six Words to be a terrific classroom assignment and catalyst for self-expression. At our Six in Schools section we celebrate students’ work from classrooms around the world. We’ve just released the Six Words for Schools workbook, the first in our suite of new school-based teaching tools, and launched our Six Schools website, a place solely for teachers to share their classrooms’ work with other educators globally. Check it out! Let us know what your classroom is up to and we might feature your students’ work on our blog.

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“Swam in mud. Recovered inner lotus.”—The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

Best Sixes of the Week ending 11:14:14There’s something about the nature of change—whether it’s time passing, relationships evolving, or perspectives shifting—that effects us deeply. This week, Sixers shared their insights on change in its most intimate and reflective iteration: personal growth. From the playful (“Why not purple hair at 35?”) to the hopeful (“Lived past prognosis. Sky’s the limit.”), our memoirists found positivity in a process that might otherwise be daunting. Although transitions are inevitable, these Sixes emphasize that we should embrace those silver linings (“Stop counting minutes, start counting memories.”). —Caroline Goldstein

Most appreciative: “Lived past prognosis. Sky’s the limit.” —Happy_Traveler

Best rejuvenation: “Swam in mud. Recovered inner lotus.” —Amapola 

Most grounded: “I bloomed where I was planted.” —liberata 

Best shift: “Stop counting minutes, start counting memories.” —resigned_to_obscurity

Most expressive: “Why not purple hair at 35?” —renkathebrave 

Healthiest perspective: “Change the world by changing perceptions.” —Artistgirl

Plus! We’re grateful for our robust community of inspired storytellers! Be sure to tell us “What You’re Thankful for in Six…” This SixContest ends Wednesday, 11/26 at 3pm ET.

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Top Six-Word “Sum Up Yourself” Memoirs

Sum Up Yourself winner

For SixContest #39, we challenged you to “Sum Up Yourself in Six Words.“ Whether promoting themselves regarding employment or starting a relationship, or simply creating a personalized tagline, our Sixers proved they’re highly qualified to tackle any and all endeavors. After reviewing hundreds of the community’s individual sales pitches, here are the top Sixes:

6. Tends to swim against the tide. –Midnight

5. Chameleon likes punk shows, fancy restaurants. –ChewyD2

4. Common sense meets glass half full. –gatome

3. Minimalist who is anything but simple. –Susan_Breeden

2. Will write for WiFi, coffee, freedom. –CariLara

And the top entry from SixContest #39 is…

1. Ex-stripper turned writer. More exposed now. –ChristineMacdonald

Congrats to ChristineMacdonald and thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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“So many wrongs left to write.”—The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

Best Sixes 20141107Even if we’re not all writers by trade, Sixers understand the power of words. This week’s memoirs explored many aspects of writing, from the art of telling (“So many wrongs left to write.”) to the importance of editing (“Never go with your first draft.”). Some of our memoirists were particularly revealing (“Poetry: best way into my pants.”). Whether you’re discovering your inner bard or slogging away at that novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), writing is hard work…but the rewards are endless. We salute the writer in everyone.
—Caroline Goldstein

Most editorial: Never go with your first draft.” —cheesehead1976

Strongest sense of poetic justice: So many wrongs left to write.” —trust2020

Most bountifully paired: Time and anguish: my writing’s duet.” —NeilSlevin

Greatest cast of characters: Writing leads me to different me.” —LotLessMonster

Most easily seduced by words: Poetry: best way into my pants.” —NaSco

Best example of suffering for the craft: Writing improves when my hands tremble.” —JohnBigJohn

Plus! Last chance to enter this week’s SixContest: “Sell Yourself in Just Six Words.” Get your responses in today, Friday, 11/7 by 3pm ET!


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Classroom Of The Month: Professor Hinkle’s “Estates & Trusts” Rutgers School of Law–Camden

Much to our delight, we’ve seen the Six-Word Memoir format used often in schools as a tool to help students reflect creatively—and succinctly—on their lives. We think this is awesome. But we were thrilled to discover that Six Words has graduated to higher ranks, too, finding homes in graduate school classrooms like Herb Hinkle’s “Estates & Trusts” at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden. When Professor Hinkle picked up a Six-Word Memoir book, he thought it would be a useful template to help his law students summarize their lengthy papers.


Those of us without a law degree may wonder what, exactly, “Estates & Trusts” entails. Cue Professor Hinkle: “Estates & Trusts covers the basics of writing and executing fundamental estate planning documents: a will, durable power of attorney, medical directive and trust.” Students in Hinkle’s class are also required to write a short paper on a related topic—such as what to do if a person declared legally dead returns to the living; establishing trusts for pets; and how to handle bitcoins–and present that paper to the class. After these presentations, Hinkle had students create a six-word summary on their topic, and then the class voted on the best Six for each subject.

Although being a successful lawyer may seem like a profession that’s all business, these crafty future counselors proved that they can think humorously about their work. And this is exactly what appealed to Professor Hinkle, who understands that Six Words “underscores how much can be conveyed in a few words. Despite all that is said about legalese, there is a need to be clear and concise, especially when writing documents or examining witnesses at trial. It is also necessary for lawyers to be aware of how words can carry multiple and sometimes unintended meanings.”


Here are the best Six Words per paper topic, as chosen by Professor Hinkle’s students:

On Bitcoins: “Damn, I should have bought more.”

On Transferring Oil & Gas Interests: “Never been prouder to have gas!”

On Living Wills: “Medical care is expensive; kill yourself.”

On GRATs (Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts): “American Dream: Be rich, avoid taxes.”

On Charitable Giving: “Charity shows all: duty and grace.”

What if the dead come back?: “Missing – spouse with policy. No reward.”

On Season Ticket Transfers: “Lose your life, lose your seat.” and “Waitlists are full of murder suspects.”

On Same Sex Marriage: “Now, Even Estate Planning is Fabulous!!!”

Inspired by Professor Hinkle’s students, we’ve come up with our own six-word summary of Estates & Trusts: “You can die in peace now.”


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Memoirist of the Month—November 2014: Kristopher Mallory

“I view almost every Six-Word Memoir as a potential seed or spore for future writing or discussion. They’re mini-memes, creatively constructed with the same poetic filtration as haikus. I like trying to compress a lot of info into sixes.”

Name: Kristopher Malloryphoto 2
Place: Honolulu, Hawaii
SMITH Member since: November 2012

Kris Mallory is a philosopher at heart with an existential curiosity and a love of words (“Spiral synchronicity weaves our tapestries together.”). Known to our community as illuminatrix, Kris has posted more than 1,600 memoirs since joining Six Words in 2012. His memoirs are often whimsical (“Consciousness. Subconsciousness. Dance together and play!”) and elaborate (“Spirit squatted on by territorial ideologues.”). But he also delivers wisdom with simplicity: “Do us a favor. Start writing” is a Six-Word Memoir to his teen self—and advice we can heed at any age. Please join us in congratulating Kris Mallory as our Memoirist of the Month for November 2014. We know he’ll select a fantastic Six Words for his custom T-shirt thanks to our friends at Spreadshirt. Delve into Kris’ quest as he answers our six questions:

Read More

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“The Key is Laughing at Yourself.” The Best Six-Word Memoirs of the Week

Best Sixes Image 20141031Everyone faces difficulties in life. How you deal with those challenges can be as important as the hardships you face. This week’s Sixes highlighted how attitude (“The key is laughing at yourself”) and perspective (“Broken pieces make up beautiful mosaics.”) influence your outlook. Although some adversity tests our limits (“Heart aches from carrying a mattress.”), Sixers know we are compelled to overcome. –Shauna Greene

Most upside: “that’s the thing about hitting bottom…” –amanda.sunshine

Best side of the fence: –On better side of cancer’s ‘50%’DynamicDbytheC
(click link to see the terrific image included)

Least discouraged: “They said: ‘It’s impossible.’ It wasn’t.” –matthewlingren

Best perspective: “Broken pieces make up beautiful mosaics.” –DeTiix

Hardest burden:Heart aches from carrying a mattress.” –TheAngstyPoet
(click link for a must-read backstory)

Best advice: “The key is laughing at yourself.” –ChristineMacdonald

Plus! Show us what you’ve got in SixContest #39: “Sell Yourself in Just Six Words.” Contest ends Friday, 11/7 at 3pm ET.

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Top Halloween Stories in Six Words

Halloween-06“Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like to see something strange?” ponder residents of Halloween Town in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. After all, this is Halloween—who would expect anything less? Many of the entries from SixContest #38 answered the call. Using only six words, the community shared more than 400 stories ranging from funny to frightening. Here are the top Sixes from “Halloween Horror Stories in Six Words….”

6. “All alone she heard her name” —@JDGDredd1050 (via Twitter)

5. “Thought it was a costume party.” —letitshine

4. “Candy gone. Tricksters coming. Lights out.” —Amy B. (via Facebook)

3. “Wore complicated costume. Impossible to pee.” —ChewyD2

2. “Sixteen candles on an unmarked grave.” —steelponypoet

And the top entry from SixContest #38 is…

1. “No signal. Landline dead. Phone rings….” —tcube

Congrats to tcube and thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our SixContests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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“Everything went silent when we kissed.”—The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

Best Sixes of the Week 20141018-24Ah, love. It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries, greatest joys, and greatest struggles. This week’s Sixes explored the many sides of love—from its divine, transformative powers (“Everything went silent when we kissed”), to its complicated, digital-age iterations (“Jumped on Tinder bandwagon; tired fingers.”). Sometimes we discover love in it’s purest form: between a parent and a child (“Until my daughter, never had cheerleader.”). —Caroline Goldstein

Ed. Note: these backstories are worth a read—click the links to check them out.

Hottest Millenial phenomenon: Jumped on Tinder bandwagon; tired fingers.” —dimsumdolly

Most heartwarming:Until my daughter, never had cheerleader.” —Solstice22

Best premise for a romance movie:Have fallen in love. Might stay.” —leslieacrowley

Saddest evidence of cultural differences:Jewish parents vetoed non-Jewish girlfriend: HEARTBROKEN!” —AmisReklaw

Most poetic enlightenment: Everything went silent when we kissed.” —BecomingLuke

Best juxtaposition: You are the perfect wrong decision.”—TaliaKE

Plus! Final days to enter this week’s SixContest: “Halloween Horror Stories in Six Words.“ Get your responses in by Monday, 10/27 – 3pm ET!

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