Signup for the Six Words Newsletter

Hear about all the parties, contests, special projects, and our favorite stories from the site.
Newsletter
A classroom shares Six-Worders on The Glass Castle—and Jeannette Walls loves it! Read all about it.
six-word-memoir-header-aqua

Memoirist of the Month—August 2017: Krista Cox

“Six Words is a place that keeps me writing, but more importantly, keeps me intrigued and amazed.”

Name: Krista Cox
Place: Alma, Nebraska
SMITH Member Since: October 2014

When Krista Cox won our SixContest, “First Six Words of Your Novel,” we discovered that her connection to Six-Word Memoirs extends beyond our site and into the classroom (Classroom Of The Month: Krista Cox’s Creative Writing Class At Alma Public School). Although the demands of teaching means she posts less often during the school year, Krista is an eloquent Sixer (“Their spirits hovered over antiquated ”) with more than 300 memoirs and SixContest entries since joining us as SouthPorch in 2014. She is masterful with metaphors (“Drunk on possibility. Hungover on reality.”) and skilled at symbolism (“Syrians and monarchs: flight to rebirth.”). Our congratulations to Krista Cox as our Memoirist of the Month for August 2017. Learn what makes her memoirs so vivid as she answers our Six Questions:

How did you first hear about Six-Word Memoirs?
A colleague shared one of the creative writing ideas from a class she had taken—it was associated with Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I believe the suggested curriculum included a link to Six-Word Memoirs and SMITH. I was intrigued with the idea of having students use six words to describe their lives and the novels we read in class. I was instantly hooked. I am a sporadic Six-Word Memoirs user. Sometimes the site is my social media and I may spend up to an hour a day reading Sixes, commenting on them, and writing my own sixes, at times with backstories (usually in the summer). More often, though, I log on every few days, peruse the editor’s picks, scroll through the daily feed, add a memoir or two, and check out the newest contest.

When did you start writing and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I began writing in elementary school. Mom always believed in me. I realized it when she told me sent some of my poems to Humpty Dumpty magazine. I learned about rejection quite early; my poems didn’t make Humpty Dumpty. Rejection didn’t stop me, though. In college, I was an English major, so I had to keep writing—sometimes it was even for fun. My current responsibilities as a teacher include the school’s newsletter. I began writing the opinion piece “Cox Comment” and community feedback kept me writing it for several years. I no longer include that piece now the school has so much news to to share.

Six-Word Memoirs has been another creative turning point. I joined the fall of 2014 and enjoyed the warm, welcoming, positive atmosphere. Plus, I was pretty darned surprised “They buried the baby on Sunday” won a contest. Six Words is a place that keeps me writing, but more importantly, keeps me intrigued and amazed. Any time I look at the site, I am enthralled with the abilities of other Sixers. The people who use the site are terrific wordsmiths! They make me laugh, tear up, and think; and they do it six words at a time.

Which authors do you enjoy or admire, including writers on Six-Word Memoirs?
People ask me this question often, because I’m an English teacher, but I never have a prepared answer. My list is always changing, but Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and K.M. Peyton’s Flambards trilogy always make the list. I’ve been captivated by each of Khaled Hosseini’s very different novels. Louise Erdrich’s The Master Butchers Singing Club and Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune haunt my memory. Lately, Tom McNeal’s and Laura McNeal’s books have made it to the top of my book stack that never seems to get smaller.

I love that SMITH has so many memoir categories. It keeps the site fresh. The backstories never get stale because there’s no formula for what people can include. I have found Sixers are generous supporters; the writers here are so giving. They invite us into their homes and lives—a bold step. We experience their sorrow, challenges, excitement, memories, laughter, and physical pain. I’ve gone months without checking in, too, but it’s like coming home when I sign in again and find the mainstays like ADHDean, BanjoDan, CanadaGoose, Loon, Solstice, jl333, Jugggler, J3nnyJAD, and Oh_Skinny still sixing.

Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, or other story of yours on SMITH and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
Your voice is why I call,” is one of my favorite memoirs, even though it was written in sadness. After nearly two and half years of remission, my sister’s cancer returned with vengeance and her death was swift. To soothe my grief-filled heart, I called my sister’s house phone when her husband was gone just to hear her voice on their answering machine. I received many kind comments from fellow Sixers. The combined power of my sister’s words and the words of the people on Six Words brought comfort.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time and what do you enjoy doing?
I’m a high school English teacher in a K-12 school with just over 300 students, total. I enjoy cooking and gardening; quite a few of my sixes refer to food in some way. I grew up on a farm and we had a huge garden. My town garden is much smaller, but getting my hands dirty still makes me happy. Trying new recipes and attempting to make food like Mom and Grandma used to cook keeps my entertained, too.

I also love traveling. My husband gave me the travel bug. He believed it was important for our children to experience the world beyond the Midwest, so we traveled during summer and Christmas vacations. We were both teachers, so it worked perfectly—our daughter and son saw parts of Europe, a couple of Hawaiian islands, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and more. I’m still teaching; he retired and now works construction. Maybe once he really retires and I move on to a part-time job, we will check off more places from our list.

Finally, there’s walking and sitting on the front porch. Walking keeps me sane. It’s also where I compose many of my sixes. Our front porch tops my list of favorites. It’s where I go to read, relax, listen to the birds, and entertain our friends. Perhaps you’ve guessed by now, it faces south. When we purchased the home, we fell in love with the Craftsman Bungalow woodwork, its size, and its backstory. It only took the first spring and summer living in it, though, to understand that the real treasure was its front porch. It’s our gathering place and the inspiration for “South porch solitude quells day’s craziness.

Finally, Krista Cox, what are your Six Words for today?
“Life’s surprising. Embrace its unexpected gifts. ”

Comments

  • ADHDean
    August 1, 2017

    Krista, what a treat to get to know you better! Congratulations on being featured; it’s well deserved. Also, thank you for giving of your energy and talents as you enrich the minds and lives of our children.

  • BanjoDan
    August 1, 2017

    Dear Krista, it sure is great to learn more about you. I enjoy reading and re-reading your honest and heart-felt memoirs. Nebraskans truly are the salt of the earth.

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Yep, we’re pretty salty 🙂 I love that you added that because my students love telling stories and adding how they “got a little salty or saucy” with someone when pitching their opinions! Keep strummin’ that banjo! One of my former students just won a National Banjo contest. He’s going to be big someday! Watch for Matthew Davis–he’s playing with Circus No. 9 right now.

  • J3nny
    August 1, 2017

    “Life’s the bronco. I’m the cowgirl”. I loved this one so much when I read it. You are indeed the cowgirl. 😉

    Congratulations, Krista! Glad to see you featured here, and happy to learn more about you. Your students are lucky to have you!

    xo Jen

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Ahh, thanks so much Jen! You keep me coming back for more SWM!

  • Solstice
    August 1, 2017

    Yay, SouthPorch! I often wondered if you might be from Australia! Because of your profile name and just because your memoirs were always so artistic to me. Then, I thought Florida at times, too.
    My sweetest, favorite great aunt lived in Nebraska. I visited once. In my secret heart, it’s a place I’d move to. 🙂
    Beautiful interview and photos. Coincidentally I was just browsing through past contest winners the other day and read your winning entry. I wondered how I missed it. Very touching.
    Enjoy your month! August is a fine one!

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thanks for your kind words, Solstice. Thanks for always being such a supporter of others.

  • Krista
    August 1, 2017

    Thanks, Dean! I think you give me too much credit. The children are usually enriching my mind–somedays more than others 🙂

  • Susan (zsuzsu)
    August 1, 2017

    Congratulations on being August’s Memoirist, Krista! So nice to see you here and read your life “backstory.” I’ve always enjoyed your insights and clever uses of words in your Sixes. Enjoy your month!

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thanks so much! I truly enjoyed your Summer of Love backstory!

  • jl333
    August 1, 2017

    Woot, woot! Well looks who’s MOTM! It’s no secret that I like all of your sixes! I enjoy your backstories too! You have so many significant sixes. It’s nice to learn more about you! And I remember clearly the six about your sister. I think I’ll go back and reread it again. Congrats my friend. –JL

  • jl333
    August 1, 2017

    Oops, one more thing. Did you see the memoir I posted yesterday about a Nebraska church? Apparently it’s against the law to sneeze in a Nebraska church! Who knew?? Useless facts…

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      I am planning to go back and read the Six now that I’ve seen this 🙂 I’ll have to check on that law; I’ve broken it often.

  • bevvie
    August 1, 2017
    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thank you! I always enjoy your writing!

  • Silken
    August 1, 2017

    Lovely! Congratulations Krista 🙂

  • Canadafreeze
    August 1, 2017

    Wow, what a treat to read your story and to get to know more about you. Your memoirs always pack a punch. I’m so happy to see you featured for August – a perfect month for a teacher to enjoy. Congratulations to a fine writer.

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thanks so much! Just 13 days until school begins for the teachers and 15 for students.

  • tonyglim
    August 1, 2017

    I’m glad to know more about you, Krista. I enjoy reading your memoirs. Congratulations on being Memoirist of the Month for August!

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thanks for taking the time to say hi! I appreciate your thoughtfulness!

  • Krystyna (CG)
    August 1, 2017

    Congratulations, Krista, on being August’s MOTM!
    I love your Sixes.
    Wonderful to read more about you. Another gal whose name begins with ‘K’.

    • Krista
      August 1, 2017

      Thanks so much, Krystyna! As I’ve said before, I love how your name is spelled!

  • JAD
    August 1, 2017

    Congrats! Krista, glad to know you’re the memoirist of the month and a teacher for our children, such a rewarding career and one I’m sure you love. Keep sixing.

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Thanks so much for your kind remarks! You are an inspiration. Your sixes keep popping up on my radar and have such thought! Keep writing!

  • Oh_Skinny
    August 1, 2017

    Krista, my friend, congratulations! Thank you for the stroll across SouthPorch. As lovely as I imagined. I love your taste in reading. I’ve never come across another Louise Erdrich fan. I am thrilled to know you, and always know that I’m your fan! Peace, Eric

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Ohhh, Eric! Thanks so much. There is just something about The Master Butchers Singing Club that sticks with me years later! Perhaps it was the family pitted against family in WWI or that huge heap of mess the boy put his hand into–not sure but it hangs in my subconscious. The Last Report on Miracles at Little No Horse was a difficult read for me (hard time getting through it) BUT I still couldn’t put it aside and not finish. At the end, I wanted more. Anyway, I ramble. Thanks for your kind remarks!!

  • Neesha
    August 2, 2017

    Delightful to know you better, Krista. Big congrats on the MOTM!

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Thanks so much, Neesha! I always enjoy your sixes. They are so full of heart! Your flowers look pretty amazing, too!

  • catsmeow
    August 2, 2017

    Howdy! If your travel bug ever gets you to the Pacific Northwest, let’s have a Sixer gathering.

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Thanks woman of the blue toes!! Actually, I would enjoy getting to that section of the country and my husband’s cousin keeps at us to visit Corvallis and St. Helen’s. Well, my husband has been there–I still need to go!

  • Loon
    August 2, 2017

    Re: traveling…
    Take in a football game in Ann Arbor…..
    I enjoy your stuff. keep on Sixing, on that wonderful porch

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Now you’ve given me a reason to head to Michigan. I’ve only been on the Chicago side of Lake Michigan, but you are close to so many Great Lakes! How do you choose? Thanks for taking time to comment! You keep on Sixing, too. I love the sound of Loon!

  • G_Austin
    August 3, 2017

    Awesome! Love SouthPorch… and a teacher no less. More reason to appreciate you! Congratulations on being featured. Well deserved.

    Be well,
    Guy

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Hey, Guy! Thanks for your kind remarks! I appreciate you taking time to comment!

  • Kharis
    August 5, 2017

    Just checked in after a bit of an absence Krista and share your feeling of coming home to friends. Congratulations on being MOTM and it was good to read some of your evocative sixes that I’d missed. It seems you are not only writing great sixes but inspiring another generation of writers. Best wishes for your work, writing and life. I hope you will visit Australia one day and sit on my front veranda!

    • Krista
      August 8, 2017

      Ahhh, Kharis! Thanks so much. Visiting Australia is definitely on my bucket list, and sitting on the veranda would be awesome, mate!

  • ellis_reyes
    August 8, 2017

    Hey Krista!!
    Hooray for you. What a great way to kick off the new school year!
    -Ellis

    • Krista
      August 17, 2017

      Thanks so much, Ellis. Hope your trip was fantabulous and helped you get ready for another year in the trenches!

  • torturedbutterfly
    February 14, 2018

    Congratulations!!

Post a Comment