The Six-Word Memoir

Everyone has a story to tell, but can that story be told in only six words? As SMITH Magazine has proved, it can. Taking a cue from Ernest Hemingway, who, according to literary legend, was once challenged to write a short story in only six words, SMITH Magazine set out to do the same, asking their readers to submit their own six word stories. Surprisingly, most of them are pretty interesting.

The six-word story that started it all, written by Mr. Hemingway:  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I first heard of the six word story in graduate school, although it was referred to as ‘the six-word memoir.’ It was an assignment that was given in a different section of a Fiction Writing class I was in. I was really hoping to be assigned the assignment  at some point during the program, but I never was. However, it stuck with me because I felt it was so unique. I love the thought of crafting a  memoir out of only six words. It seems easy, sure, but when I assigned it to my friend, whose writing I’ve been mentoring, she said it was the most difficult writing assignment she’s ever received.

Both simple and challenging, I feel this is a great prompt for any struggling writer, or those who have a brief block that’s keeping them from writing. It’s a good way to think creatively,  but short enough where it can be finished without too much hassle and agony. Below, I offer a few examples of the memoir (there are a few in the above pic as well) and challenge my readers to create their own.

#1 – Tracey Adlai is a Valley Girl.

#2 – Love (Almost Always) Leads to Heartache

#3 – Mrs. Cleaver meets Vivid Video vixen.

#4 – Then: Boys, Music. Now: Boys, Music.

#5 – Loved her family. Loved her country.

#6 – Sometimes lost. Sometimes found. Sometimes forgotten.

#7 – Eternally hopeful and madly in Love!

#8 – Fetching, loving, and just plain vicious.

#9 – They will say I was sweet.

#10 – Never really finished anything, except cake.

If you have any you’d like to share, please comment below or email me at

Write on!

The Accidental Blogger



Filed under Writing on Writing

8 responses to “The Six-Word Memoir

  1. Ruthie

    Always hungry, always happy, always hoping!

  2. Pondering. Meditating. Capturing. My soul purpose.

  3. Marie

    I tried, but have unfortunatly failed.

    — no spell check

  4. naeiri

    i don’t know what’s going on.

  5. enretard

    I want to live…no, die.

  6. birth, death: both rush toward light.

  7. Kelly-Anne

    He came, I tried, he slept!
    -straight woman of America

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s