Your life in 6 words?

April 09, 2008

Great people's lives reduced to just 6 words? Now that's word efficiency.

The Book Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure is a collection of almost 1,000 six-word memoirs. It includes entries from many celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Jane Goodall, Dave Eggers and others. It was the outcome of an online submission process that yielded 15,000 six-word memoirs

Which 6 words (or less) would we use to describe someone famous like Jesus? The Bible provides plenty of options.

"You are the Christ" (The Apostle Peter, Matthew 16:16)

"Son of God" (Various passages)
"The Word" (John 1:1)
"The Lamb of God" (John the Baptist, John 1:36)

How would you summarise your own life. Some might feel this could change every day. But how would you distill your life down to just 6 words? In my case maybe "child of God, husband, father, grandad" or "
risk-taking learner, forgiven and loved". It all depends on the perspective you take (sounds very post-modern!). Are you thinking of life roles, your personality, circumstances and events? It's an interesting experiment in self reflection.

The SMITH magazine that was behind the exercise has published some of the examples
online (see it here).

Here are some of the examples:

"I still make coffee for two" (Zak Nelson)
"Sperm too potent, now have triplets" (Renee Schunk)
"Never really finished anything except cake" (Carletta Perkins)
"Born in California then nothing happened" (Mark Harris)
"Nothing profound, I just sat around" (Daniel Rosenburg)
"Wasn't noticed, so I painted trains" (Mare 139)
"From Colombia to Columbina: 27 years" (Marisa Casey)

The magazine has recently asked for submissions of six-word memoirs for a future book (here).

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