What Can You Say in a Six Word Memoir?

SIX WORDSWe talked about Six Word Stories in the last post, and some of you came up with some great ones – thanks!  But did you ever think about a Six Word Memoir?

I came across the idea about a month ago, over at Smith Mag.  They have some fabulous categories – Six Word Questions, Six Words on Love, Six Words by Tony Winners.

The idea behind it is to put something of your day into six words, and the results range from humorous to heartbreaking to gee-I’ve-been-there.  Here’s a sample:

  • Wish I’d take my own advice.  (Also the book title of teen memoirs.)
  • Everybody really does know my name.
  • Summer’s not the season for quarrels.
Great, huh?  If you follow #sixwords on Twitter, you’ll find a lot of people expressing philosophy and inner thoughts as well as memoir, sometimes with a photo, sometimes in poem form:


  • untethered :: I dance :: along dangerous edges (from @everythingin6)
  • looking backward / gaining perspective / through wisdom… (from @lazybookworm)
  • Watching you / like nobody else / exists. (from @nicholas_kane)

I love Six Words as a form for poetry and as captions for photos.  And when the six word poem and the photo come together, it can be powerful.  Here’s one that touched me:

my dawn, your sunset: our divide  From Chupacadabra (@poopocket) on Twitter

my dawn, your sunset: our divide
From Chupacadabra (@poopocket) on Twitter

I love the creativity of expressing yourself in six words. I love the word-work, I love the result. But then I got to thinking.  (Watch out – thinking usually gets me into trouble!)

Can six words really be considered memoir? What will really be remembered three years from now, or ten, or thirty?  Pithy sayings lose their context over time, and for me, the point of a memoir is to evoke the place and feeling and what happened so that you or someone else can re-live it.

For me, I think I’ll stick to memoirs in prose – a paragraph, a page, ten pages.  But for expressing a feeling or a single happening, Six Words have a way of stretching me.  So just for a lark, here’s a bit of my last week:

  • Sunday is for snoozing after church.
  • Summer feast: grilled chicken, corn, watermelon.
  • Prune oak tree, angry robin dive-bombs.

Are you game? Can you put something of your last week into only six words?  Share yours in the comments below – enquiring minds want to read!

(Apologies to those who got the half-drafted version of this in their e-mail.  Someday I’ll learn to be absolutely sure I’m hitting Preview, not Publish!)

This entry was posted in Deep Thoughts, Social Media, Story Prompts, WRITING and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What Can You Say in a Six Word Memoir?

  1. Pingback: Can you do it? | jean's writing