Your Life Story in 6 Words

by Abby on March 7, 2012

SixWordMemoirs.comOprah’s featured them in her magazine, Honest Tea is printing them on their bottle caps; the 6-word memoir is all the rage. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s 6-word short story (“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”), people are condensing their life stories into a few well-chosen words. I’ll tell you this: it’s harder than it looks. And very revealing. But fun.

Here are some of my favorites from O magazine:

Was hot. Raised kids. Lost cool.
– Trudy Love Tantalo, 60

Write, mother, sleep. Repeat as needed.
– Shonda Rhimes, 42, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy”

Scoop. Brew. Pour. Sip. Smile. Ahhh.
– Michelle Hix, 42

I decided to take a stab at a 6-word memoir myself. You thought composing 140-character tweets was tough? Some of mine were smart-alecky, some were melancholy, and some were just plain bad. Here’s a sampling:

Happy childhood = huge writing success doubtful.

I know what I DON’T want.

I’ve got all kinds of time.

Not bad for a mom, huh?

Living the perfect life — for me.

So what are you waiting for, people? Give it a shot in the comments! Then submit your best one to SMITH magazine.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello March 7, 2012 at 7:46 am

I love your “I know what I DON’T want”…

Mine would go something like…”Lived two lives, REALLY HAPPY NOW.”

And as Porky Pig would say, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”


Rebekah March 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

What a cute exercise!! I can’t wait to do this with some of my friends – a great way to tap into your creativity.


Ali/Alessa March 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

For my son:

“Lived not until he was born.”

“His first breath, my dream realized.”


Ali/Alessa March 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

I like: “Mother of four, not enough liquor.”-spunkylady


Kathleen Basi March 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

I don’t think I can get it down to less than seven:

Jack of all trades. Master some. Maybe.



Abby March 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

Love these!! You guys are great at this. 🙂 Kate, can I copy yours?


Viv March 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

Writer with kids. Keep Xanax coming.


Brock Heasley March 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

What a fantastic exercise. I can’t imagine anything more difficult. I just wrote a 94,000 word memoir that only takes you through my 19th year! How am I supposed to get my whole life into six words?? Still, I’ll try…

“Faithfully waiting, often rewarded by patience.”

Let me see if I can do another…

“Father shot. Ring bought. Kids fraught.”

That should do for now. Very fun. May need to steal this.


Malia March 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Writing my life story. Chapter: kids.

Everything is OK. It really is.

That’s the best I can do on short notice! Awesome exercise! Now I just want to ignore my work and write more 6-word masterpieces.


jetts31 March 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

Grew up so I could evolve.


Michelle Hix November 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hey… thanks for liking my 6-word memoir! I just stumbled on your blog. Thank you!


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