Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Six-Word Memoirs and a T-Shirt Maybe

Just discovered this book titled Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. (Should six-word be hyphenated? Does it matter? It's distracting me.) The title grabbed me the way flash fiction does: it's short! I can read it easy! I know that's illogical, considering how dense good short writing has to be, how much it makes you think. Maybe I just want to think sometimes instead of read.

Exercises that have helped me a lot over the years involve strictly enforced word counts. Recently I answered the question "Why did you attend your first writing workshop?" I had to write it in 100 words or less. Doesn't sound like a big deal until you actually try to do it, and the discipline it requires makes the writing sharper, clearer, and more succinct. It also works your brain in a different way, which feels refreshing after long sessions thinking about craft, content, or character.

Here are a few examples. They sound a little like haiku when you read them out loud.

Catholic school failed.
  Sin is in!

She said she was negative.

And my favorite:

After Harvard,
  had baby with crackhead.

(This one is perfect in every way. I hope my book-length memoir is as engaging as this.)

Here's my six(-)word memoir, for today, anyway:

I chose me. Deal
  with it.

(Snarky? Hells yeah!)

By the by, you can write your six words and put them on a T-shirt! Because of course!

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