“Stories became much more meaningful when they fit inside six words—they were short enough to recite in one breath, but deep enough to ponder long afterward.”
Name: Brielle Intorcia
Place: New York, New York
Member since: July 2013
Brielle Intorcia, writing as EveningCicada, details what it’s like to become an adult (“Adulting’s knowing better days are coming.”) Her memoirs give insight into her life as a pre-med double major in psychology and English, with a concentration in creative writing (“Science major praying for divine intervention“). She uses her memoirs to share her passions: travel (“Packed every bag. Destination: somewhere else.“), stories (“I feel more in fictional worlds“), and mental health awareness and suicide prevention (“They’re not ‘disorders,’ Call them ‘conditions.'”). Congratulations to our Memoirist of the Month for February 2018. Learn more about Brielle and her desire to tell stories as she answers our Six Questions:
How did you first hear about SMITH and Six-Word Memoirs?
I was trying to overcome a dry spell in my writing career when I began researching websites for writing exercises. I was determined to try something new to freshen up my lifelong hobby. Eventually I came across Six-Word Memoirs in my sophomore year of high school and was instantly hooked. There was a certain thrill that came with condensing my chaotic life into six words. For weeks I counted my thoughts on my fingers, always excited when I landed on the sixth and final word. Stories became much more meaningful when they fit inside six words—they were short enough to recite in one breath, but deep enough to ponder long afterward.
While I like readers to develop their own perspective about what I write, lately I’ve been adding backstories to provide more depth to my memoirs. Sometimes I include original poetry in my backstories, too. I always make sure to comment on memoirs that have especially moved me; it’s important to tell people that you appreciate what they’ve shared. Six-Word Memoirs has transformed the way I write and the way I connect with other writers. I never write alone. I’m surrounded by people who share my victories and empathize with my defeats.
When did you start writing, and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pencil. When I was around seven I’d write stories that featured my friends and me off on some magical adventure (complete with pathetic illustrations—thank goodness I stuck with writing). I was probably ten when I started writing poetry. I found this empty green notebook laying around and decided I’d try my hand at writing poems. In middle school I began writing—here it comes, the f-word—fanfiction based on celebrities and video games. Er, not exactly those two things together, although I’m sure that exists somewhere. Somehow my geeky twelve-year-old self gained quite a following on FanFiction.net. Posting my work online so others could read it and provide feedback was huge for me. At that point I’d been writing for a while, but it was the first time I felt truly competent at my hobby. I think at some point every writer has a “Whoa, I guess this means I’m good at this” moment, and FanFiction.Net did that for me. I also wrote original stories on its sister site, FictionPress.com. While I don’t post stories regularly online anymore, those websites gave me the confidence rush I needed to propel my writing career.
Of course, getting published in The Best Advice in Six Words was another turning point (“Write as an artist would paint”). It was incredible to declare that I was published at seventeen years old—that the words I’d typed on my smartphone screen were now staring back at me from a book in print. It’s all because of Six-Word Memoirs. I was blown away when I saw that the Chewelah Arts Guild, all the way out in Washington, quoted my published memoir on its Facebook page. To know that a dweeb like myself reached somebody over 2,600 miles away is, well, crazy. This is what I’d always worked for—to see my name in print, in a hardcover book—and it’s only the beginning. As for the next step: I was recently accepted into Fordham’s selective Creative Writing Concentration. I’m looking forward to the new turning points this next journey is sure to bring.
Please share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, Moment or other backstory of yours on SMITH and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
This one’s tough. Sometimes the kind comments I receive make me love a memoir I felt otherwise neutral about, or bring a new perspective I hadn’t considered. In any case, one of my favorite memoirs is “Tagged along on their adventures, breathless.” I wrote this after finishing the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. I keep this memoir in mind when I write because I don’t want my readers looking in through a window when they read my stories—I want them there, actually there with my characters, crawling and crying and cheering and running to catch up with them, the whole way through.
What authors inspire you or do you admire, including writers on Six-Word Memoirs?
I credit Markus Zusak with being the first author to inspire me to not just write, but tell a story. Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas are also on top, as well as Sylvia Plath and Pablo Neruda. I’m not sure if he counts, but singer/songwriter Billy Joel also makes my list—the way he weaves stories into his music is effortless and captivating.
The Six Words community has some of the warmest and most supportive members I’ve ever met. ksan and I are kindred spirits moved by the elegance of Japanese tradition. I always look forward to torturedbutterfly’s poignant contributions. BanjoDan’s memoirs are the perfect blend of humor and compassion. ShellDeFelice, raisedbywolves, canadafreeze, and Silken were some of the first members to welcome me to the community and continue to leave lovely comments. Neesha101 and jl333 always make me smile.” I’d be here till tomorrow if I listed everyone on here that moved me, so remember that I cherish all of you.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love video games! I’m always playing something. I’m also a mixed martial artist, although because of college I’m currently only training in the summer. You can find me at Barnes and Noble, crouching in the Young Adult section, analyzing three or four copies of the same book to determine which one is in the best condition. I also frequently prowl the streets of Manhattan in search of the best dessert places. In my downtime (which lasts about 40 seconds), I like to research health conditions and treatments around the world. I’m also obsessed with world travel—I’m usually mapping adventures around Japan and Europe (literally anywhere, let’s go), planning trips that I swear one day I’ll be able to afford. I love learning languages despite the time crunch that is my life, and I aim to attain fluency in several foreign tongues. I’m also on the executive board of our school’s chapter of Active Minds, an organization dedicated to eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness. I’m a huge advocate of suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Finally, what are your Six Words for today?
“Be fearless and you’ll be unstoppable.”