“Six-Word Memoirs has served as a way to document my successes and pitfalls. My sixes have become plot points on a chart of thoughts.”
Name: Alexandria “Allie” Campbell
Place: New Jersey
SMITH Member Since: March 2012
When Allie Campbell joined Six-Word Memoirs in 2012, her first memoir was a proclamation to her writer’s heart: “I will get my Pulitzer Prize.” Quite a claim for a rising teen, yet it wasn’t meant as an arrogant declaration; instead, those six words reflect her passion for writing (“Wielding my keyboard like a sword”) and commitment to this lifelong endeavor (“Writing is where I reinvent everything”). Posting as TheAngstyPoet with nearly two thousand memoirs to date, she has grown from a trepidatious teen into a confident adult (“Teenage me boiled, now I simmer.”). And her Six Words of advice published in our 2015 book, The Best Advice in Six Words, are as fitting for a student as anyone trying to realize their dreams: “Grit your teeth, do your homework.” Congratulations to Allie Campbell as our Memoirist of the Month for July 2017. Learn more about this memoirist who is more poet than angsty as she answers our Six Questions:
How did you first hear about Six-Word Memoirs?
I first heard about Six-Word Memoirs in 2012 during the New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival. I went with my high school magazine group, Images. We went to a writing workshop. We wrote from a word prompt. Then the facilitator talked about Six-Word Memoirs and we each wrote our own. These days, I hop on SMITH when I feel creative or want to flesh out an event that happened to me. Sometimes I check the site daily, which continues for a while, and then sometimes I go MIA. Usually I come to SMITH when I’m inspired by something big happening. I’ve written about being in college, my first job, and my brief time abroad. More often than not, I “six” my adventures.
When did you start writing and what have been turning points in your creative life?
I started writing in high school when my MomMom, a.k.a. my grandmother, became sick with cancer. I used poetry as a way to cope with grief. A lot of poems were angsty so my mother was not always a fan. That’s how I chose my username, TheAngstyPoet. Then I got into performance poetry for a short time. In college, I wrote on and off. I’ve been trying to get back into it, but I only write little vignettes or poems.
Which authors do you enjoy or admire, including writers on Six-Word Memoirs?
Maya Angelou has inspired me since I learned “Still I Rise” by heart. Her writing style and flow have influenced my own work. In all of his books, Roald Dahl has framed magic in a fresh, childlike way that has made me realize the importance of tone and mood when writing. Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Rupi Kaur‘s self-published poetry and inspires me to write in a “less is more” style.
On SMITH, I enjoy BanjoDan, Loon, canadafreeze, Contemplative, Solstice, Neesha101, JohnBigJohn. For these next three memoirists, I’ve included a memorable memoir from them and why it’s meaningful to me: “I procrastinate; therefore, I do not.” by Bevvie. I’ve procrastinated all week. Hell, I’ve procrastinated my entire life. “Saddling up elephant in the room.” by DynamicDbytheC. This memoir is poignant, it makes me think of something that you put off because you dread the outcome. “I’m sometimes what hits the fan.” by Steve__Anthony. This is flat out funny and describes most of my stick situations.
Can you share a favorite Six-Word Memoir, or other story of yours on SMITH and tell us why it’s meaningful to you?
I have one from March 2012, when I joined Six-Word Memoirs, and another from March 2017. “I am already bitter at seventeen.” I pessimistically wrote these six words about love in high school—I remember that DynamicDbytheC mentioned a lyric which sings, “Is that all there is?” which captured the sentiment of this memoir. Five years later, I wrote about my first job out of college: “The world’s much bigger than now.” In this recent memoir, I realized that this job is not where I’m going to end up, I’m just beginning. Six-Word Memoirs has served as a way to document my successes and pitfalls. My sixes have become plot points on a chart of thoughts.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time and what do you enjoy doing?
I live in New Jersey and I’m a paralegal. I love to cook and try new foods, I enjoy talking to strangers, and I like to go on walks.
Finally, Allie Campbell, what are your Six Words for today?
“Be afraid, but do it anyway.”