Across the world, students, teachers, churches, and nonprofits organizations with names like the Hypoparathyroidism Association (devoted to helping folks with a rare medical disorder) have used the six-word memoir to inspire, encourage, and even help heal. We love hearing how six-word memoirs find their way into lives and organizations.
We just heard from the New York-based Writopia Lab, a community of young writers, ages 9-19, who come together to develop short stories, journalistic pieces, personal essays, poetry, and dramatic and comedic scripts. In other words, these kids love storytelling in its many shapes and forms. Founder Rebecca Wallace-Segall recently sent over an incredible list of six-word memoirs from Writopia, many of which are featured on our new SMITH Teens site and will find their way into our forthcoming book of six-word memoirs by teens. “They loved developing these,” emailed Wallace-Segall. “Many have been featured on your site over the last weeks. It means so much to us and to them. Thank you especially for creating such a meaningful (and fun) literary event.”
From “”Cried hard on the indifferent bed” to “She’s blind, we love to talk” to “Grandma’s blue veins emboss her skin” the words from the Writopia kids are personal, insightful, and poignant—exemplifying all that’s possible when teens take the six-word memoir challenge. On October 14, Writopia’s six-word memoirists will be reading at the Barnes & Noble in the NYC’s West Village, and nine others will be reading excerpts from their short stories and memoirs. After the jump, read what emerged from the minds of 16 teens, six words at a time.
Louis Evans, 17
1. What do I admire? Minimalist writing.
2. Despair is a funny, beautiful thing.
Yael Wiesenfeld, 16
1. High school: “this too shall pass.”
Dan Ross, 14
1. I always lose my classmates’ pencils.
2. Read the thesaurus on the toilet.
3. I aspired to normalcy: outdid myself.
Pearl Mutnick, 14
1. I write songs I’ll never sing.
2. Summer Camp: Alone, with Sedaris anecdotes.
3. Crosswords: too many 50’s movie references.
4. Wishing I got more snail mail.
5. We’ll always have 84th and Columbus.
Noa Bendit-Shtull, 16
1. I edit my profile, or vice-versa?
2. Have everything. Feels like nothing sometimes.
3. He said she said who said?
4. Baked a pie. Didn’t eat any.
5. I-wonder-if-i-can-use-dashes-to-make “one” word. Break the rules.
6. Dissect, reflect, direct, defect, expect. Perfect.
Lily Gellman, 14
1. Doing schoolwork and wondering about tomorrow.
2. Thought I ought, so sought, wrought.
Nora Miller, 14
1. He left our conversations openly suspended.
2. We broke, came back, broke again.
3. Cried hard on the indifferent bed.
4. I ate my words in lullaby.
Rebecca Shubert, 15
1. My ring fits onto your finger.
Ena Selmanovic, 13
1.Once upon a time…never mind.
2. I’m too complex for six words.
3. I’m outside of those inside jokes.
4. Turned 13 and don’t feel different.
5. I’m too scared to be myself.
6. Acting older than your age: immature.
7. I’m always arguing with my mind.
8.California has my heart’s other half.
9. She’s blind, we love to talk.
10. They talk. I pretend to listen.
Rachel Sobelsohn, 13
1. Pencil on paper, draft after draft.
Kalmen Victor, 15
1. Oh, triumph – I licked chapped lips!
Visala Alagappan, 13
1. I always imagine clowns without makeup.
2. Public praise: I don’t think so.
3. Me: “it’s more complicated than that.”
4. Grandma’s blue veins emboss her skin.
Angelica Modabber, 14
1. Can’t help believing in fairy tales.
2. I always pause before I break.
3. I have become my own prey.
4. Not blind. I choose not seeing.
5. Life’s just a game I play.
Katie Hartman, 13
1. My friends come but never go.
Lena Beckenstein, 15
1. Why aren’t I hating high school?
2. Sorry, you had to be there.
3. Always all-county, never all-state.
Ena Selmanovic, 13
1. Loving Earth: not a fashion statement.
2. Peace: more than a fashion statement.
3. Shouldn’t hate making mistakes. I do.
4. Don’t hate making mistakes. I do.
5. Gigantic smile: so thankful for friends.
6. My smile: so thankful for friends.