Legend has it that author Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In 2007, SMITH online magazine re-ignited the idea and started a reader contest: Your life story in six words. The magazine was soon flooded with thousands of entries from readers submitting their own six word memoirs; some bittersweet and inspirational and others funny, thought provoking and hilarious.
The idea flourished and became the premise of a new book recently published by the editors of Smith magazine entitled “Not Quite What I Was Planning – Six word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers”.
In an age where micro-blogging and text messaging has become the norm; six words can indeed tell a story.
Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure collects almost 1,000 six-word memoirs, including additions from many celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Richard Ford, Deepak Chopra, Moby, and more. A New York Times bestseller and subject of hundreds of stories from The New Yorker to NPR and hailed as “American haiku,” SMITH’s book of six-word memoirs is both a moving peek at the minutia of humanity and the most inspirational toilet reading you’ll ever find.
My six word memoir was chosen to be a part of this collective effort. ‘My reach always exceeds my grasp‘ – is my contribution and can be found on page 51. Of course there is a huge story underlying my chosen six words and that will be the subject of a future article. The inspiration I’ve derived from this serendipitous opportunity is being used continually as motivation to pursue other goals as I reach beyond my grasp towards future possibilities.