Thinking Out Loud

April 9, 2008

My Life In Six Words

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — searchlightevents @ 5:50 pm

I misplaced our print copy of this article by Francine Kopun which appeared on March 15th in the Sunday Star (Toronto). Today I found it online. Could you sum up your life in six words? Here’s a greatly abridged version of the story and some of the samples they gathered in Toronto. You can read the longer version at

Everyone has a story to tell. Six words is all they need.

That’s what editor Larry Smith discovered when he posted a six-word memoir challenge on his website,, in November, 2006, asking readers to write their life story in precisely six words. Within the first two months, the site received 15,000 replies. The best have been reproduced in a book that has become a New York Times bestseller, aptly named: Not Quite What I Was Planning.

“People have a hard time looking at a blank computer screen or piece of paper,” says Smith, 39, of New York City. “But the six-word idea – just tell your story in six words, get down to the essence – I’m not saying it’s not hard, but it’s not so scary.”

“After Harvard, had baby with crackhead,” wrote one reader in response to the memoir challenge. “I still make coffee for two,” wrote another.Smith also solicited memoirs from the famous. “Yes, you can edit this biography,” wrote Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote: “Me see world. Me write stories.”

When we challenged Star readers in the paper and online to produce their memoirs in six words, we were flooded with nearly 500 replies from around the world.

Evidently, I was homeschooled by nuts.

For sale: Master’s degree, never used.

Mom’s schizophrenia changed our family forever.

I have lived in total obscurity.

Went to France single returned married.

Teleported into adulthood by dad’s death.

Much love to give; no recipient.

I was the voiceless, picked-on kid.

Childhood, motherhood, work, work, work, work.

Started out strong, what went wrong?

Battled injustice wherever I saw it.

I have exceeded my shelf life.

Six siblings makes girl grow tough!

Married wrong girl but we’re happy.

Four kids make life wonderfully chaotic.

Seriously I am who I am.

I have not accomplished much…yet.

Overeducated janitor; My ambition lacks ignition.

From poverty to patron of music.

Financially good; everything else a bust.

So what about you? If you had to sum it all in six words, what would you write?

1 Comment »

  1. Born in sin; saved by grace

    Comment by Kaybee — April 10, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

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