Followed white rabbit. Became black sheep.

This title is a six-word memoir from Gabrielle Maconi. It’s featured in the book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

I had somehow never heard of the six-word memoir concept before today, despite it being around since Hemingway penned his shortest story.

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

Whoa. As soon as I read that, I was hooked. And this book has so many amazing examples:

Almost a victim of my family. (Chuck Sanger)

Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult. (Linda Williamson)

Watching quietly from every door frame. (Nicole Resseguie)

That’s incredibly powerful stuff! It’s life, condensed! It’s also all I can think about. Would a condensed life always be sweeter, like condensed milk? Or would it end up unbearably bitter, like over-concentrated coffee? I’ve decided that the end result depends – just like with food – on the essence of the original.

But, for the majority of us, with our jumbled sweet-sour-spicy-bitter-umami lives, how can we even begin to define ourselves with just six words?

Small hometown. Big ideas. Started writing.

Painted the town turquoise, not red.

Loved like hearts grew on trees.

I’ve given it a try, but I’m not satisfied yet. What words would you use to express the very core of your life? The comments section is all yours for playing around…

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34 responses to “Followed white rabbit. Became black sheep.

    • I’m glad that was just a moment, then, and in the past tense! But yes, this exercise really does make you choose one aspect of the whole story.

  1. I love this idea so much I wanna marry it.

    Look! You’re floating! Wait, I am?
    How much longer till we start?
    I guess being me is easier.

    …It’s probably not good that my life summations end in question marks. I tried! (Being me sounds confusing).

  2. I have been a fan of those six word memoirs since reading Hemingway’s. It is amazing what he conveys, both emotionally and phsyically in those six words.
    I determined my six word memoirs a very long time ago: So many books, so little time.

  3. I love love love this concept and I thought of a couple:

    Laughter is infectious.
    Soy latte, two sugars.
    I skip while no one is looking.
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • The last one made me grin. Sometimes, when I’m really, really happy and no one’s around, I spin in three circles. Some holdover from ballet class, I guess… but I love that you skip!

      • I don’t do it all that often, but just when I’m excited OR when I’m feeling rebellious. Because it’s such a rebellious thing to do. Some lady in the shops yesterday asked me if I was a ballerina (it was SUCH a weird/random/strange thing to ask) and I just laughed and said I wasn’t that coordinated. I can just imagine you do it while singing ‘where going to make it after allllll.’ hehe πŸ™‚

  4. I guess this would be mine:

    Stop looking at others; be yourself.

    I really love this idea. I don’t know if I’m happy with mine yet, but it is good motivation for me.

    • I know! It’s so hard to be satisfied! Past or present? Life lesson or poetic statement? It’s good practice for me though, since I tend to be word-a-licious when I write.

  5. Pingback: Six Words Only | sparklebumpsthebookwhore·

    • That’ exactly why it’s hard for me! Or maybe it would be easier if I were younger… there’s so much to say these days, but there was a time when it would have gone, “Jumped sprinklers. Loved parents. Imagined daily.”

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