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“My creative turning point is probably being recognized at SMITH. I wrote for sanity, not for attention, pity or recognition. But something beautiful started happening. I felt so much love from the writers at Six-Word Memoirs."

Name: Danette H. Place: San Diego, California SMITH member since: March 2011 [caption id="attachment_7642" align="alignright" width="479"]Danetteclimbingmarch82014 "Cancer changed my relationship with life."[/caption] Danette H. has taken us on a marathon ride since joining SMITH in 2011 as DynamicDbytheC. She grew up in Wisconsin, where she met James—her husband and muse on SMITH. In 1985, they hit the road in their blue VW bus and moved to San Diego. There they shared a life filled with love and cycling, travels and adventure. We met Danette at a difficult juncture in their lives. When she joined SMITH three years ago, James was battling cancer and Danette was struggling with that battle—a weight anyone touched by cancer knows well. Like so many who encounter Six-Word Memoirs, Danette discovered a simple way to share intimate thoughts and chronicle private moments. By opening her heart and inviting us in, she tapped into a community of friendship and support. She also found a safe place to cope and heal as she dealt with her own cancer and James' untimely passing in 2013, just shy of his 50th birthday. Whenever we ask "whose writing has moved you on Six Words" in this Q&A, DynamicDbytheC's (a.k.a. DDC) name pops up time and again. We've been impressed with her willingness to bare it all ("Fully clothed, buck naked with words.") and how well her words resonate with others ("We are all healing from something."). Congratulations to Danette H. as our Memoirist of the Month for April, who can put any Six Words on a lovely T-shirt from our friends at Spreadshirt. Her answers to our six questions are, as you might expect, filled with love and heartbreak, resilience and hope. Be sure to read on and delve into Danette's many backstories (click the memoirs) to see for yourself. 

“When I found Six Words, it allowed me to express myself in ways I couldn't otherwise; it was my own little world and I began writing like I never had before. I wrote morning, noon and night. ”

Name: Jo Ann Daniels Place: Crowley, Texas SMITH member since: April, 2008 [caption id="attachment_7270" align="alignright" width="238"]MOTM Jo Ann D Jo Ann Daniels (a.k.a. JAD)[/caption] Jo Ann Daniels has been with SMITH almost since our start and we've been with her through many milestones. Penning her nearly 1,700 six-word memoirs and backstories as JAD, some events have been predictable like aging ("Gravity is no friend of mine."), while others have been deeply poignant and heartrending like her adult son's passing ("He went peacefully. I'm so satisfied."). Jo Ann has shared many touching sixes in our Moms/Momoirs category about caring for her elderly mother ("Actually, I'm my mom's mom today.") and her mom's failing health ("Quietly, crawled into bed with her."). Through it all, she's maintained her optimism ("Pain consumes you. Hope renews you.") and that beautiful smile we enjoy via her profile ("Smiling is just in my DNA."). Join us in congratulating Jo Ann as our Memoirist of the Month for February 2014. Thanks to friends at Spreadshirt, she'll receive the Six-Word Memoir tee of her choice. Our vote: "Old school dance got their attention." See why we're glad to have Jo Ann with us as she answers our six questions: 

“SMITH has been a wonderful outlet to share my highs and lows...I publish more Sixes when I'm not afraid. When I don't allow self-doubt to steer my ship.”

Name: John Roedel Place: Cheyenne, Wyoming SMITH member since: January, 2012noah n dad JohnBigJohn joined Six Words just after the New Year of 2012, which makes this New Year a fitting time to feature his Six-Word Memoirs: 600+ and growing. With his humor about faith ("I must be God's favorite sitcom.") and his witticisms ("Stuck in mental traffic. Abandoning car."), John's memoirs show us how being funny has served him well through the best and worst of times. Join us in congratulating John as our first Memoirist of the Month for 2014, which includes props and a T-shirt with the Six-Word Memoir of his choice from Spreadshirt. Learn more about John's story as he answers our six questions.

"I can honestly thank the amazing writers here for the radio gig I’ve landed. Learning how to cut out the nonsense, the peripheral fluff in a message, and tell it in six translates smoothly into writing or editing advertising copy."

Name: Mishell DeFelice Place: South Lake Tahoe, CaliforniaMOTM Dec 2013 1st SMITH member since: January, 2013 Mishell DeFelice is a relative newbie to Six Words, although she's no stranger to our community. ShellDeFelice caught our eye from day one when we featured her very first memoir: "I'm often terse, but always unforgettable." With barely a year under her Six-Word belt and nearly 500 memoirs to date, she's still catching our attention with her quips ("Been pushed down. Gonna cowgirl up."), observations ("Blue mood. Blue lake. Paradigm shift.") and retorts ("Disdain, you are excused. Please go."). Congrats to Shell, December's Memoirist of the Month. No doubt she'll pick a fantastic Six Words for her commemorative t-shirt, thanks to our friends at Spreadshirt.  But don't stop here, read more—in Six questions, of course—about what makes Shell unforgettable.

imageThough the  Six-Word Memoir Project got its start as a more personal form of writing, it has grown to encompass all sorts of events: whether public or intimate, current or historical.  This month's featured class on the Six in Schools page is perfect example of the many ways the Six-Word form can be adapted.

Monday, November 11th, was Veteran's Day—celebrated each year to honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  Last week, a class of sixth graders from Helen Tyson Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas, used the Six-Word form to help mark this holiday.

"Without Six-Word Memoirs,I'd probably still be talking about writing but never actually doing it. Six Words allows me to…make the most impact with the fewest words."

Name: Dean Evans Place: Northeast Alabama Member since: February 2010 Visit SixWordMemoirs on any given day and you’ll encounter Dean Evans, who joins us from a smallish college town in northeast Alabama. His posts as ADHDean show his literary wit (“Spicy conversation peppered with salty language”) and insights about everyday woes (“Mechanics break wallets while fixing cars”), and showcase his romantic side with regular odes to his wife (“There she stood, my dreams materialized.”), our very own jene2008. Dean keeps our community on its virtual toes with his “Random Word of the Day” contributions and his real-life community raising their eyebrows with his participation in the cancer awareness project, Movember.  Dean is also a founding member of the International Society for the Preservation of Whimsy . "We have yet to hold our first meeting, write our charter, elect leadership or come up with any bylaws," he explains, "But we have nevertheless giggled, chortled, laughed, hee-hawed, guffawed and otherwise engaged in all sorts of whimsical behavior." As October’s Memoirist of the Month, with nearly 2,000 memoirs to date, Dean has no shortage of choices for his Six-Word T-shirt, thanks to our partners-in-six at Spreadshirt. There’s much more to learn and love about Dean as he answers our questions—Six of them, of course: How did you first hear about SMITH? A 2010 NPR All Things Considered feature, I believe. It immediately struck me as something I had to try. I posted just a few Sixes that year, but returned in 2011 and haven't looked back. When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life? I first felt like a writer as a high school senior in Advanced Writing class. While nothing I churned out was earthshattering, I felt the joy of seeing a story take on a life of its own. I was bitten by the bug, which remains today. I’ve been told I have a way with words—my grandfather was something of a wordsmith, so I come by it honestly. Creative turning points have included the births of my children (Sonny and Sweet Pea, about whom I’ve written many memoirs) and my marriage to Jen (almost half of my Sixes are about her). We have four kids between us (“Five years. Four Kids. Three Words.”)—Jen has given me permission to truly be who I was meant to be, which includes stretching my legs as a creator and writer. Make no mistake: muses exist, and she's most definitely mine.