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.”
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.)
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 sixwordmemoirs.com 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.
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 sixwordmemoirs.com; it broadened the reach of the Six-Word Memoir Project.
— Chelsey Drysdale (@ChelseyDrysdale) June 4, 2014
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.”