lifeMy kid brought home a book she’s obsessed with:  “it all changed in an instant”

The book started around a tale: “legend has it that short-story came about in a bar bet when Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a novel in only six words.”

I recently spent two full days trying to describe a project in under 150 character…  so 6 words feels nearly impossible…. but I discovered when options become this limited, it makes what matters and what doesn’t clear itself up in a hurry.

As I read, I was moved by how single events clearly are defining moments in a life, that often as the title says, it all changed in an instant….:

 “happily married, until the paternity test”

 “tiny son dying in my arms”

 “visited London in 1977.  Changed plans”

 “let her go, let him in”

 You can do lots of things and have a big life but those single moments probably alter the entire fabric forever.

Other’s used the 6 words not to describe what shaped their lives, instead they explained the result:

“no dog, husband, kids; passport full”

“traveled on TV, world saw me”

“…but then he told me no”

“found my calling by flunking out”

Some were insanely funny but totally descriptive of a life, reminding me that sometimes past the moment, it all looks funny regardless of a single feeling:

“wasn’t really crazy, just needed insulin”

“found on craigslist:  table, apartment, fiancé”

“changed sexes:  same monkeys, different barrel”

“burn my journal when I die”

So I’m left to wonder how to write my own memoir this way, what 6 words most accurately sum up my existence on this planet.

“found no way out but in.”  bowing

who are you? six words….  the exploration is a worthy journey.

Read many more here:  SMITH MAGAZINE Six-Word Memoirs