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February 2009

Today on WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show, Rachel and I talked to the winners of a SMITH and WNYC.org six-word memoir contest. The conversation, leisurely and literary in the style the great public radio programs have grown accustomed to, revealed the stories behind:

"Fourth choice to Prom. Still overcompensating." "Lots of cats. Lots of men." "Enter left. Move center. Exit right." "I overcame the temptation to suburbanize." "Ever-smaller apartments in better neighborhoods." "Unemployed publicist: Will flack for food." "Climbed Mount Everest, also compulsive liar."
And in an intense few minutes of radio, Anne from Hell's Kitchen shared her six-word memoir, "I found my mother's suicide note." She talked about how important it was for her to come to terms with her mother's death, and the role of the note in that process. The note, she explained, was just six words: "No flowers, no funeral, no nothing." After the jump, see a few of our other favorites. Anyone who entered the contest--or heard us and got the six-word bug--is encouraged to submit a six-word memoir on SMITH and be considered for a future book.

SMITH community member who goes by the name Miandering is taking six-word memoirs across the world, writing a new one with every country she visits—greeting the likes of Thailand with these six words: "Sticky rice at every meal. Yum." Like so many of the six-word memoirs, her bite-sized dispatches reflect a rollercoaster ride of emotions and impressions, from "Hidden gems make uninspiring city worthwhile" to "Phnom Penh. Caution: No traffic laws." When she writes, "Brutal history both unspoken and everpresent," I wonder if she's in Laos, Cambodia, or perhaps Myanmar.