Memoirist of the Month: July 2014—Chelsey Drysdale

I often tell friends and family about my Six-Word successes and sometimes I post them on Twitter and Facebook. It was especially exciting to get these messages in my Inbox: “Molly Ringwald has favorited your tweet,” and “Molly Ringwald has retweeted your tweet.”

P1020927Name: Chelsey Drysdale

Place: Long Beach, California

SMITH member since: February, 2013


Chelsey Drysdale has amassed a collection of nearly 1,000 Six-Word Memoirs since joining us in 2013. Posting as ChewyD2, her memoirs are playful quips about life (“I ran out of pixie dust.”) and love (“All my exes combined: perfect man.”) or lack thereof (“I have perfected ‘solo date night.’”). Her funny and insightful Six Worders reflect where she’s been (“Can’t dwell on past. Do anyway.”) and where she’s going (“Grappling with my greatest fear: success.”). Congratulations to Chelsey Drysdale as our Memoirist of the Month for July! She can mark this milestone with a fantastic T-shirt, including the Six Words of her choice, from our friends at Spreadshirt. Read more in our Six Questions about what makes Chelsey and her writing so dynamic.

1. When did you start writing and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I was born an English major, but first started writing creatively while working on my single subject teaching credential in the late ‘90s, and got serious about writing in 2007. I’ve taken wonderful online courses through UCI Extension and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. The turning point was an in-person course at UCLA; Shawna Kenney’s class propelled me forward, and I have since worked with her in numerous workshops. This year I published an essay in her anthology Book Lovers and have participated in five readings in Northern and Southern California. (We have another one in August in San Diego.)

MOTM July 2014 Chelsey Drysdale LA Times

I’m nearing completion of a solid first draft of an essay collection about my relationships, ranging from fairly successful and long-term to nearly nonexistent. I’ve been working on it diligently since January (“Today’s essay collection word count: 84,244.“).

2. Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, Moment or other backstory of yours on SMITH and tell us whether someone’s writing on has especially moved you?
Nearly 50 of my Six-Word Memoirs have been highlighted by the editors so far, but one I liked that wasn’t picked was, “Two wedding dresses. One with tags.” I planned two weddings, but only got married once, so one of the dresses was never worn. I thought that one was pretty clever.

Although it’s difficult to choose just one memoirist, I really love canadafreeze. Her memoirs are poignant, relatable and funny, and she always has supportive comments about others’ posts.

3. What authors inspire you or do you admire?
As a personal essayist, I’ve always been in awe of David Sedaris. His material touches me and makes me laugh out loud. I once saw him read in person. It was so good that I almost fell out of my chair. I waited in line with a copy of When You are Engulfed in Flames to have him sign it. The book had been out for about three days and I had already finished reading it. The line behind me snaked around the building, but he did not rush me. Instead, he drew a turtle in my book and guessed my sign. (He said Pisces. I’m a Gemini.). I told him I was a writer, too, “but not as good as him.” He said, “You’re probably as good as I was when I was your age.” It was like meeting a rock star.

I also love Jon Kraukauer and Dave Eggers because their writing is nothing short of brilliant.

4. You participated in all three days of our Six-Word Festival on Twitter in June and contributed many terrific responses. Please tell us how you first heard about Six-Word Memoirs and what about the #sixwords virtual storytelling fest was so appealing?
In the beginning of 2013, my UCLA Extension personal essay instructor told us about SMITH’s Six-Word Memoirs website and asked us to write one Six-Word Memoir, post it, and share it with the class. I continued to write them long after class was over.

The Six-Word Festival was a fun way to interact with people on Twitter. I’m a bit competitive, so getting recognized is an exciting goal. I also participate in the weekly challenges because I want to see if any of my Six-Word Memoirs will be chosen. I had a great time reading everyone’s Twitter posts during the festival. The festival reeled people in who may not post frequently to; it broadened the reach of the Six-Word Memoir Project.

I often tell friends and family about my Six-Word successes and sometimes I post them on Twitter and Facebook. It was especially exciting to get these messages in my Inbox: “Molly Ringwald has favorited your tweet,” and “Molly Ringwald has retweeted your tweet.” I’m a product of the John Hughes generation. I saw Sixteen Candles in the theater when I was 11. I know that film word-for-word now; I’m a big fan of hers.

5. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time and what do you enjoy doing?
I am a telecommuting senior editor for UP Media Group; we publish technical content for the electronics manufacturing industry. I love spending as much time as possible with my toddler nephew Bix; he’s the light of my life. I enjoy literary events such as the LA Times Festival of Books. It’s inspiring to hear other writers discuss their processes and the publishing world. I take notes and post their conversations on my blog.

I like going to hockey games (Go Kings!), and I’m a big fan of live music. Recent favorites include Arcade Fire on Halloween at the Palladium and spending an hour photographing and chatting with the Descendents in their trailer. I’ve also been known to go hiking and wine tasting on the same day. I exercise a lot because I can’t say no to cheese and chocolate.

6. Finally, Chelsey Drysdale, what are your Six Words for today?
At 41, finally call myself “writer.”

24 Comments » for Memoirist of the Month: July 2014—Chelsey Drysdale
  1. Kharis says:

    I always forget to click on this page, so rather belatedly, congratulations on MOTM and lovely to read more about your life.

  2. ADHDean says:

    It’s awesome to learn more about you. Your contributions on Six-Words are brilliant and relatable, and always enjoyable. Congrats on being MOTM! -Dean

  3. Chelsey Drysdale says:

    This is the nicest comments section on the whole world wide web!

  4. Stephanie Rawlings says:

    Well, all I can say is, it’s about time. I love all your sixes and have secretly suspected there must be some Canadian blood in you somewhere.
    More times than I can count, I have read one of your Sixes, and said, OUT LOUD, “Exxxxactlly!” or some variation. Keep them coming!
    Congatulations, ChewyD2!

  5. Staraj says:

    We have Six Word Memoirs in common. Will you marry me? (rumor has it a dress is available)

  6. Loon says:

    Yes, you are officially a writer. Now, go write more Sixes.

  7. Chelsey Drysdale says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  8. Donna Drysdale says:

    I am proud to say that I gave birth to this amazing woman! Congratulations, ChewyD, for putting yourself out there and making it happen! Love you!

  9. enginethatcould says:

    I LOVE your sixes – congratulations on being chosen as a well-deserved MOTM!

  10. Chelsey Drysdale says:

    I’m feeling the love! xo

  11. Danette says:

    So nice to officially meet another Californian. I enjoy your memoirs and how exciting to have Molly Ringwald like your memoirs, too. I am a fan of David Sedaris and saw him read in person, as well. I thought I was going to get kicked out of the Bookstore one day when I was reading his elf passage out loud (swearing words included) to my sister while trying to breath in between ridiculous laughter. Congratulations.

  12. maryjane31 says:

    Congratulations! I always read your memoirs and enjoy them.

  13. G_Austin says:

    I too attended Long Beach State. Go Dirtbags! Huge baseball fan.

  14. JAD says:

    From one sixer to another, congrats! Keep the good work up!

  15. Chelsey Drysdale says:

    The top photo was taken at USC at the book festival, but I went to CSULB for my teaching credential (after I got my BA at UCI). Thanks!

  16. Solstice22 says:

    Congratulations, Chewy from a fellow hockey fan and Long Beach person. I was born there so long ago! 🙂 Nice gray top in your photo! Enjoy your month. 🙂

  17. catsmeow says:

    Yay, chewy! Nice to meet you. I grew up near Long Beach and went to CSULB and I’m wondering if that photo was taken in LB.

  18. Chelsey Drysdale says:

    Thank you for the kind words, everyone! You’re the best!

  19. notyouraveragegirl says:

    Congratulations! It is wonderful to meet you and see the face behind your well-crafted sixes. I am also a huge Arcade Fire fan! And a fan of your work as well!

  20. bevvie says:

    Kudos on being selected as MOTM! I was born an English major too. 😉 Is there a club? dues? And I like the wedding dresses memoir too. It is clever.

  21. G_Austin says:

    Really nice – well deserved!

  22. canadafreeze says:

    Wow. You are even more accomplished and interesting in person. Your writing is always authentic and often whimsical. A killer combo, in my opinion. It’s nice to meet you, Chelsey. And, thank you for the shout out:-) I’m also a huge fan of David Sedaris, and I’m a little more than jealous that you got to meet him. Arcade Fire? You’re kidding. They’re Canadians, so that puts them close to my heart. Rock on, Chewy!

  23. Jl333 says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your sixes. Great to read more about you

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  1. […] are exciting new posts up on our blog! Learn more about Chelsey Drysdale (ChewyD2), July’s Memoirist Of The Month. And check out how the kids at The Pearl Of The Concho Writing Project are using Six-Word Memoirs […]

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