Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Must Read!!!

As I mentioned before, I’m really into anthologies lately, from the traditional to the extreme.

“Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs By Writers Famous & Obscure” is definitely of the extreme typology! But it is truly an amazing collection of “short” stories. I bought the book today and read the whole thing, cover-to-cover, today.

And I know, this isn’t the type of book that you’re really supposed to sit down and read cover-to-cover, but I did!

Some of the memoirs are mantras. Some are famous sayings or the titles of books. Others may only have meaning to the one who wrote it.

Some are life’s deepest secrets, never shared with anyone… until now.

Some are by instantly recognizable names - Nora Ephron and Deepak Chopra, to name a few. Others are by people just like you and me.

It’s not about using proper English. Verbs are turned into nouns and vice versa. It’s about discovering oneself, six words at a time.

Plus, there are pictures!!!


The editors of the anthology suggest, “…it’s a thousand little windows into humanity – six words at a time” (ix).

Here is just a smattering of my favorites, although there were far, far, far too many to include here. My highlighter and I had a very fun afternoon!

From the hilarious…

“College was fun. Damn student loans” (9).

“Tequila. Amnesia. Coincidence? I think not” (84).

“I think, therefore I am bald” (97).

“Thought long and hard. Got migraine” (199).

“Clumsy girl found adventure. Also, bruises” (204).

… To the reflective…

“Fourteen years old, story still untold” (6).

“In a Manolo world, I’m Keds” (68).

“Perpetual work in progress, need editor” (79).

“Outcast. Picked last. Surprised them all” (129).

“I’m the fine print. Read closely” (178).

… To the romantic…

“Love annihilated a thirty-year age difference” (99).

“We were each other’s favorite person” (195).

… To the random…

“Can’t tonight, watching Law & Order” (46).

… To the just plain sad.

“She said she was negative. Damn” (2).

“Wanted world, got world plus lupus” (22).

“I hope to outlive my regrets” (26).

“Young optimist: proven wrong. Prematurely old” (76).

“Educated too much, lived too little” (115).

“Like an angel. The fallen kind” (168).


I like to think of these as personal headlines. If someone had to write a news story about you, what would the headline read?

Honestly, I think this whole idea is genius. I’ve decided to give myself the following challenge:

Write a six-word memoir everyday for a month.

Why? My whole thing is that in life, we all wear a ton of different hats, so I couldn’t possibly write just one.

My first thought for my six-word memoir?

Graduate student: Will write for food!

In high school, I was in a college-level history class. We had this huge paper due, and on the due date, I was the only one to turn it in. My teacher for that class told me that if people offered me money to write their papers for them, she wouldn’t blame me for doing it. This is, literally, the story of my life…

I came up with this one, taking a little inspiration from my blog name:

I’m getting closer to myself everyday.

I think a lot of us anticipate, if not for anyone, but ourselves, writing some kind of memoir. But we wonder, will the adventures of our lives fill enough pages? This book teaches the opposite. Your life can be condensed into six simple words.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

What will the result of this month-long self-exploration be? It might be ugly. It might be beautiful. Only time will tell… Look out for my month’s worth of six-word memoirs on October 1st!

So, here’s my challenge to you:

What would your six-word memoir be? Would it have to do with your chronic illness? Why or why not? And is it possible to just have one?

Let me know and I’ll hopefully post some, if not all of them!!! If you don’t want to leave them in comments, you can always e-mail them to: gettingclosertomyself@gmail.com.

And don’t forget to check out http://www.sixwordmemoir.com/. Feel free to share them, there, as well!
(Smith, Larry, and Rachel Fershleiser, eds. Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. New York: Harper Perennial, 2008)


  1. I *love* this idea, Leslie! I may try writing the 6-word memoirs daily, too.

    Laid on the couch today. Bored.

    I'm going to check out this book, too. Thanks for posting about it!

    Be well,

  2. I'm so glad you like the idea, MJ. I definitely look forward to reading more of yours!