Top Six Words on Spring Renewal

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Pablo Neruda once said, “You cannot keep Spring from coming.” This is true for our Sixers who openly welcomed Spring and the new beginnings that come with it. In this week’s SixContest, we asked for your Six Words on Spring Renewal. You shared hundreds of sixes with many touching personal stories, inspiring plans for Spring, and intuitive impressions towards the holy week. With so many incredible submissions, you made it tough to pick just six! Our favorites on spring renewal are:

6.”friends,
street café,
to laugh again.
-G_Austin

5. “Snow melts, along with my complacency.” –sugarsmoke

4. “Passover renewal: matzah, memories, brisket, brides.” –Terri

3. “Be gone you seasonal affective disorder!” –jrmiller

2. “Spring cleanse? I’d rather eat cake.” –Aleyna

And our top-rated springtime memoir is…

1. “Yoga twists and spring cleaning lists.” –NamastePJ

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Congrats to NamastePJ, who can put this winning six-word memoir (or any six words of her choice) on a fabulous key tag thanks to our friends at Various Projects!

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our Caption Contests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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“Shy about writing. Sixing breeds confidence.” Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

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We are all writers in one way or another. Writing was key in the development of human society and continues to help us grow. This week, many memoirs celebrated writing—as an art, as a means of communication, and for the self (“Shy about writing. Sixing breeds confidence.”). Whether it is writing for a career (“Won writing prize for flash fiction!”) or writing with conviction (“A writer doesn’t have to apologize.”), writing keeps us sane. –Gilmarie Brioso

Best Decision:I’ve decided to write myself happy.” –liberata

Best Lifestyle Change:The writer finally grabbed the pen.” –KellyQAnderson

Most Optimistic:Shy about writing. Sixing breeds confidence.” –jrmiller

Most Visual: “Writing ‘freedom’ on this foggy mirror.” -Amapola

Most Direct:A writer doesn’t have to apologize.” -kaseycarroll

Most Accomplished:Won writing prize for flash fiction!” -Redhead2001

Plus! Check out our latest edition of Classroom Of The Month. Coleridge Taylor Montessori Elementary School used the Six-Word Memoir Project during their Literacy Week—their students created many awe-inspiring sixes (“Reading is the foundation of learning.”)!

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Classroom of the Month: Coleridge Taylor Montessori Elementary School

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We think of schooling in sequential categories—moving from first grade to second, looking forward, never back. It makes sense; preschool is vastly different from middle school. PTA members Bridget Kolb and Amy Miller of Coleridge Taylor Montessori Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky, managed to bridge those differences, bringing the grades together through an activity involving just six words.

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As co-chairs of the school’s Literacy Week, Kolb and Miller worked across grade levels (preschool – 5th grade). While brainstorming the literary celebration, Kolb recalled an NPR story about the Six-Word Memoir Project; “I was struck by how much could be conveyed in just six words.” Miller, who previously taught using Six-Word Memoirs, loved the idea.

The Six-Word form showed students the power words hold. It gave students an opportunity to express their individualism, regardless of age, and tell stories about themselves. “And it doesn’t have to be a hard, daunting writing project with rough drafts and topic sentences. It can be one index card and six words,” Kolb explained. Miller recalled “one three-year-old boy, who couldn’t even write his name yet, told me his six words with a big smile, while his classmates looked on in awe!”

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Although students were skeptical at first, school librarian Tom Bruker had a great lesson with many examples. “You could almost see the wheels start to turn as they realized that there were stories in those six words,” said Kolb. Here are six favorites from the Literacy Week team:

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“Reading is the foundation of learning.”

“I love reading big fat books.”

“I want to be an illustrator.”

“Happiness is my mom and family.”

“I like doctors. They work hod [hard].”

“Please don’t stick your tongue out.”

Six-Word Memoirs found a home at Coleridge Taylor Montessori. Kolb and Miller hope the project will become a permanent part of the school’s Literacy Week. They also see it as a daily activity for the students’ “Writer’s Notebooks.” However they choose to write, we hope they keep on Sixing! —Gilmarie Brioso

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“Passover Food Coma, Again Next Year”—Six Words at Your Seder

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At the soul of the Six-Word Memoir project is how this simple prompt, “Tell a story in just six words,” can spark so much conversation. It’s not much of a stretch to say that Jews (among which I’m one) don’t need a lot of help conversing. So to ask us to boil down the essence of  life is a challenge. That’s what we were thinking when we launched Six Words on Jewish Life as a section of SixWordMemoirs.com, the genesis of the book of the same name, one made possible with the support of the nonprofit Jewish cultural mavens at Reboot.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 1.24.22 AMSince the debut of Six Words on Jewish Life, each Passover we’ve received wonderful reports about how Six Words has found a place at Seders. If you’re looking to add a conversation starter to your table this Passover, here’s a tried and true way to engage friends and family of all ages with Six Words.

1. Ask everyone to take a few minutes to think of Six Words on Jewish life. These Six Words could be very general or quite specific. For example:
• What are Six Words to describe what being Jewish means to you?
• Can you share a thought about Passover in Six Words?
• What is your Six-Word story of this past year that has brought you to this moment of reflection?
• Write a fifth question for the group to discuss, formed in exactly Six Words.

2. Go around the table and have everyone share their Six Words.

3. Ask each person to take a minute or two to share the “backstory” to their Six Words. If you have a large group, narrow it down by asking just the oldest and the youngest person at the table offer a brief backstory.

Need inspiration? Here are a few Six-Worders on Jewish Life from the teens in a summer writing program at Brandeis University called BIMA. Each summer I head to Newton, MA and teach a class with their instructor Jon Papernick in which we ask the kids to come up with their own Six Words on Jewish Life and talk about what they mean.

  • “Only a Jewish boy, Mom said.”
  • “We spent our budget on lox.”
  • “One small Jew, one loud family.”
  • “Light is off, find a goy.”
  • “Old woman comes just for Kadash.”
  • “Passover food coma, again next year.” (The inspiration for the title of this post.)

For even more inspiration, check out Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life, 360 takes on what it means to be a Jew from everyday folks and machers like Larry David, Maira Kalman and Jonathan Safran Foer. It even looks a little bit like a Haggadah…

 

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Best Game of Thrones Fanfiction Memoirs

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As Ygritte says to Jon Snow, “If we die we’ll die, but first we’ll live.” Your favorite characters certainly came to life in this week’s contest. To celebrate the new season of Game of Thrones, we asked for GoT fanfiction in six words! Here are the Top Six storytellers:

6. “Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Goose.” -PollyMath

5. “Joffrey’s uncle-father beats him up one-handed.” -ChewyD2

4. “The coronation of King Tyrion Lannister” -@WintermuteNight

3. “Catelyn Stark is back. Game over.” -@allysonm

2. “Kahl Drogo. Still undefeated against men.” -@Hassandle

And the best GoT fanfiction goes to…

1. “Queen Daenerys chooses her Hand: Brienne.” -@rusmclaughlin

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Congrats to @rusmclaughlin, who can put this winning six-word memoir (or any six words of his choice) on a fabulous key tag thanks to our friends at Various Projects!

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our contests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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“My soul is doughy like bread.” The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

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There is nothing more intimate than sharing a meal. It builds trust amongst participants and opens the path to communication. Simply put, food brings people together. This week’s Memoirs shared many meals with us. From the ravenous (“Big Mac called. I answered. Delicious.”) to the profound (“My soul is doughy like bread.”), our Sixers used food to convey emotions, share love, and show who they are. -Gilmarie Brioso

Most Ready to Chow Down:Consuming calories like there’s pending shortage.” -ChewyD2

Best Visual:My soul is doughy like bread.” -jl333

Toughest Narrative Arc:Big Mac called. I answered. Delicious.” –marymc

Best Childhood Relived: Candy cigarettes are rather addictive also.” -Alyssainbloom

Most Conscious:My dreams of cake are gluten-free.” -zsuzsa

Most Sweet:Nothing says love like Teddy Grahams.” -accidentaltourist

Plus! Show your storytelling skills in Six-Word Caption Contest #20. We’re asking for Game of Thrones fan fiction. Here’s your shot to rewrite the history of Westeros. How does your story go?

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This Week’s Top Poems in Six

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Poetry gets to the heart of emotion and expression. And this week, you captured that notion with lyrical finesse. To honor Maya Angelou’s birthday and National Poetry Month, Six-Word Caption Contest #19 challenged you to write a poem in six words. Here are the Top Six rhythmic beauties:

6. “The beginning
A middle
The end.”
-ShellDeFelice

5. “Our souls dance
stirring up romance~”
-@UBUnderlined (via Twitter)

4. “Battered and Beaten. Still, bread rises.”
-G_Austin

3. “I’m most awake when lying down.”
-jrmiller

2. “Poe Emily
Dick, her son
Lost”
-RaisedByWolves

And the best verse goes to…

1.“Loveless
in the arms
of Morpheus.”
-Tonyglim

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Congrats to Tonyglim, who can put this winning six-word memoir (or any six words of his choice) on a fabulous key tag thanks to our friends at Various Projects!

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our Caption Contests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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“Why can’t I be Benjamin Button?” The Best Six-Word Memoirs Of The Week

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In this day and age, pop culture finds its way into everyday life. This week’s memoirs covered everything from current hit songs (“Drunk in love. Sober by noon.”) and rising starlets (“Lupita Nyong’o is my girl crush!”) to enduring icons (“Barbie was never perfect. False interpretation.”). Whether amusing or thought-provoking, popular culture gives us the chance to question, examine and discuss. Lots of food for thought here! –Gilmarie Brioso

Most Disappointed:My Netflix is stuck in 1989.” -wonderactivist

Toughest Narrative Arc:Drunk in love. Sober by noon.” -TamekaMullins

Most Frustrated: “’You Starks are hard to kill.’” -WrathofHeart

Most True:Barbie was never perfect. False interpretation.” -tayport15

Best Humor:Why can’t I be Benjamin Button?” -Hobotrekker

Most Star Struck:Lupita Nyong’o is my girl crush!” -Bevvie

Plus! Can you spit a rhyme in six words? Don’t miss Six-Word Caption Contest #19—ends 4/4 at 3pm ET! In honor of Maya Angelou’s birthday on and April’s National Poetry Month, we challenge you to write a poem in just Six Words!

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Memoirist of the Month, April 2014: Danette Hoffert

“My creative turning point is probably being recognized at SMITH. I wrote for sanity, not for attention, pity or recognition. But something beautiful started happening. I felt so much love from the writers at Six-Word Memoirs.”

Name: Danette Hoffert
Place: San Diego, California
SMITH member since: March 2011

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“Cancer changed my relationship with life.”

Danette Hoffert has taken us on a marathon ride since joining SMITH in 2011 as DynamicDbytheC. She grew up in Wisconsin, where she met James—her husband and muse on SMITH. In 1985, they hit the road in their blue VW bus and moved to San Diego. There they shared a life filled with love and cycling, travels and adventure. We met Danette at a difficult juncture in their lives. When she joined SMITH three years ago, James was battling cancer and Danette was struggling with that battle—a weight anyone touched by cancer knows well.

Like so many who encounter Six-Word Memoirs, Danette discovered a simple way to share intimate thoughts and chronicle private moments. By opening her heart and inviting us in, she tapped into a community of friendship and support. She also found a safe place to cope and heal as she dealt with her own cancer and James’ untimely passing in 2013, just shy of his 50th birthday.

Whenever we ask “whose writing has moved you on Six Words” in this Q&A, DynamicDbytheC‘s (a.k.a. DDC) name pops up time and again. We’ve been impressed with her willingness to bare it all (“Fully clothed, buck naked with words.”) and how well her words resonate with others (“We are all healing from something.“). Congratulations to Danette Hoffert as our Memoirist of the Month for April, who can put any Six Words on a lovely T-shirt from our friends at Spreadshirt. Her answers to our six questions are, as you might expect, filled with love and heartbreak, resilience and hope. Be sure to read on and delve into Danette’s many backstories (click the memoirs) to see for yourself. 

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The Top Six-Word Holidays Are In

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Every day should be a holiday! And with your ignited imagination that certainly can happen. In this week’s Six-Word Caption Contest, you created holidays that ranged from the deep and emotional to the down right silly. Here are the Top Six holidays we definitely want to celebrate:

6. “Watch a Series on Netflix Day!” -@BellysBlurb (via Twitter)

5. “Sixth of June, Six-Word Memoir Day” -RaisedByWolves

4. “Death By Peeps Day – Marshmallow Madness” -G_Austin

3. “Admit a Secret Day. Be brave!” -jrmiller

2. “Hey, Take a Chill Pill Day” -NumbrOneAunt

And our top-rated Six-Word Holiday is…

1. “Make Love Day. Good For Health.” -DynamicDbytheC

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Congrats to DynamicDbytheC, who can put this winning six-word memoir (or any six words of her choice) on a fabulous key tag thanks to our friends at Various Projects!

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun! Whether in our Caption Contests, on FacebookTwitterTumblr or at sixwordmemoirs.com—keep on Sixing!

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