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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In Other Words: Six Word Memoirs Reveal True Us


 In Other Words: Six Word Memoirs Reveal True Us


By Chuck Keller


As the story goes, someone challenged Earnest Hemingway, a master of brevity, to write a short story in six words. His response - “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” - started a bit of a trend. There is now a website that presents that same challenge. They have published millions online and have produced a few books. 



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The first is titled Not Quite What I Was Planning, a wonderful examination and revelation of life. They are thoughtful, funny, reflective, philosophical, and irreverent and cover all of the phases of being human.

I used it in class as a summary technique. It forced students to be concise and it provided insight to what they understood. It can be a bit challenging at first because it’s muscle you haven’t flexed before. But once you get the hang of it, you can’t stop.

Recently, the New York Times ran a piece where they asked readers to express the pandemic in six words. I shared it and asked people to share their six word summaries or memoirs of the pandemic to date.


Here are a few of their responses; 


Italian wine, cheese, and pajamas rule!

Avoid the news, seek out nature. 

Isolated and yet even more connected.

Be like Dory. Just keep swimming. 

Boy, do I miss my family. 

Introverts excel at self isolation. 

Good thing I like my own company. 

I learned who was truly selfless. 

Dogs have never been more important. 

Thank goodness the outdoors is still open. 

Distanced and masked; unwitting Zoom expert. 

Working from home - the new normal. 

Sometimes I crave human touch. 

Will I have a business tomorrow? 

People rise to the occasions. Or don’t. 

Get up. Go Work. Dead streets. 

Wish I could change the world. 

Just one more slice of cheese. 

What the heck day is it?

I’ve never been so married. 

I am quarantine quarreling with myself. 

Wearing a mask isn’t that hard. 


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And here are my six word takes on the pandemic:

Got this. Already walked through fire. 

Accept change - it’s that or die. 

It’s just right now, not forever. 


These brief observations offer some insight as they capture the moment. Now it’s your turn. 

This is a fun activity to do with friends, family, and co-workers. I’d like to read your six word take on the pandemic. 

Learn more on the website: https://www.sixwordmemoirs.com

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