The delicate task of selection and arrangement of words on a page—writing—is as vital to a wordsmith as breathing.
Much like a surgeon’s unwavering use of a scalpel, writers carefully trim their work to achieve effectiveness through concision—the hallmark of good writing.
Perhaps the most famous example of brevity is the heartbreaking six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
In creating an assignment for my Life Harmony students—write your memoir in six words—I first had to craft my own. For those of you don’t know me well, I ran away from home when I was a sophomore in high school. My six word memoir:
“Left home walking, learned to soar.”
What is your six word memoir?
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan
The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony
© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved
Find me on Twitter @HolEssence
Likes long stories birthed in silence.
Just wrote another 1,000 story. Pondered making it shorter but none of the words refused to budge an inch. OK, that’s not true. I edited 200 more and sent them sobbing into the wastebasket. 🙂
1,000 words, I meant to see. OK, will quit adding words now.
Kathy – You crack me up! 🙂
Kathy – I’m looking forward to your post. I just received an email notification that there’s a fresh one waiting. Whoohoo!
Kathy – You nailed it. This is oh-so YOU — perfect!
Long detour to simplicity and presence.
Barbara – I love it!
Your memoir is really powerful!! By the way, I always enjoy the way you use your words. You have a true gift.
Healthy A-Z – Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words.
Laurie, I remember that line from long ago. Knocked me just as flat today as it did then. Something else to remember: ” Up, up and away, in my beautiful balloon!” Soaring all the way!
Sandi – Like you, that six-word story plucks an emotional chord in my heart every time.
Yes indeed — soaring all the way!
Sandi – Your six word memoir: “Gardens thrived in her watchful care.” 🙂
I loved your 6-word memoir. I’ve never been good at short stories, preferring the novel’s length to tell a story, but here goes: Rigid career goals morph into tranquility.
Mywithershins – Ohhhhhhh, your six word memoir paints a beautiful word picture of transformation. Way to go!
I love this! I am going to have to think before I answer. I love your 6 word memoir…and the others I see here. Something to ponder.
Cindy – I’ll look forward to what you share after it’s had a chance to simmer for a while on the back burner.
Naive optimism becomes clarity of being.
Terrill – I love, Love, LOVE it!
Inspiring Laurie. My 6 word story is carved from the photo I have of me being held in my dad’s arms, looking up at the trees for the first time, age 4 months. ” Outdoors finally, treetops mesmerizing, sayonara orphanage”.
Alison – That speaks VOLUMES and made me cry happy tears. Thank you for sharing your six-word memoir here.
“Too many at home: travel far”. (I’m one of 10 children and it felt a bit crowded when my eldest sister had 2 children and stayed at home with my parents. I was 8 when she had the 1st one and 11 when she had the second. By the time I was 18, I felt very strongly I had to leave and make room for the younger ones).
Fatimasaysell – Based on what you’ve shared, your six word memoir suits you to a T — perfect!
Love your six words. Working on mine 🙂
Winsomebella – I’m looking forward to what you’ve got to share 🙂
Laurie, This is so powerful to me right now. I think I’m rewriting some of those six words, and I’m not sure what they will be. For NOW, I think, “Choosing to quiet inside and out.” That has meaning to me and I’ll be thinking about it all day today. Thank you!
Three Well Beings – I’m so glad this post resonated with you, thank you for letting me know. I love the serenity in your six word memoir.
Recognize, embrace and love being different! Six words, a gift from my amazing mother!!
Thanks, Laurie. I have sojourned from social media since the beginning of May. I needed to stay focused on preparing and presenting workshops. Thanks for the thought-provoking post. It is an encouraging welcome back to my writing and social media world. HAPPY DAY!!
Sheila – Welcome back 🙂 I resonate strongly with your six word memoir. yes, Yes, YES!
Birthing cancer: awesome mother; healing kindness. (Popped into my head)
I should pay you for this post as it opened up a whole possibility for my book group discussion I am leading tonight. WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS by Terry Tempest Williams. I have now read this book 9 times and will lead another book group on it next Tuesday. A memoir in 54 voices (or chapters)
Thank you so much
Patricia – I’m glad for the synchronistic timing of this post (enjoyed reading your six word memoir). Have a wonderful time this evening at your book group discussion 🙂
Through it all, I will survive. Today this feels like my six word theme. Tomorrow? We’ll see.
Carol – As an ardent follower of you blog, I know what lies behind your six words. My hat is off to you!
“Short on time; long on love.”
Thanks for the challenge. I enjoyed it.
TreeWithRoots – I love your six-word memoir! Thank you for sharing it here 🙂
Thanks, Laurie. A good exercise.
Absolutely loved this post and your six word memoir. Makes me want to read the long version, Laurie! 😊
Deb – I’m glad this post resonated with you. (Perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll be able to read the long version one day)…
Great 6-w memoir! Should put together mine 🙂
Lada – If you write it, I hope you’ll come back here and share it with us 🙂
It’s a deal 🙂
Inspired by everyone’s six-words, here are mine:
Storyteller born; words challenging; stories continue.
Leanne – Yes indeedie, it’s tailor made for YOU 🙂
Experience questions choice exploration ideas recursion
Ted – I was hoping you’d weigh in with a six word memoir, and I’m oh-so-glad you did. Perfect descriptors for you 🙂
Fabulous post Laurie, and a fitting and glorious personal memoir.
Mine would be something like this:
‘Positive energy keeps depression at bay.’
Sam – yes, Yes, YES – I love it!
I like this. So true! Especially in the winter. 🙂
Rolling stone gaining momentum just now!
Roamer – I just love your six word memoir!
What a coincidence, Laurie– I just came across the Six Word Memoirs book in a bookstore! Your six words are so captivating. I’ll have to ponder mine…
Dana – Once you’ve got yours written, I hope you’ll come back and share it with us 🙂
Searched forever outside, answers were inside.
Tina – fan, Fan, FANTASTIC!
The “quiet twin,” out of her shell.
(My current friends will never believe I was actually a very quiet, shy child.)
Chris – Your response triggered a face-splitting smile 🙂
False start, burst bubble, finally whole.
WarmGinger – Now THERE’S a six word memoir that makes you want to read the whole thing. Very intriguing…
I’m gearing up for the July “Camp NaNoWriMo” and the word counts look so daunting. How about: Eccentric warrior dancing through cosmic soup. Such a fun exercise! Awesome!
Rachleadventures – I love your six word memoir: “Eccentric warrior dancing through cosmic soup.” And may I suggest that you enjoy every moment of Camp NaNoWriMo (the writing journey) — not just the final destination 🙂
🙂 Thank you, Miss Laurie!
I don’t forget to be awesome!
Sent from my iPhone
Kim – that’s wonderful!
wonderful and the pic too its great picture
Ajaytao2010 – Thank you
oh dear thank you so much
Laurie, this is thought provoking!
For now, I would say my six word memoir is:
Earthy connections sprouting, bloomed into adventure.
From a young age, I felt “mystical” connections with the earth though in many ways I lived in my head too, so that connection slowly sprouted and continues to call me into new adventures.
Thanks for this exercise!
Karen – Your six word memoir suits your life-long connection with the earth beautifully. Well done!
Playing the stings of my soul.
Thank you special lady 🙂
Anne – yes, Yes, YES!
Gave up swimming; learned to float.
Becwillmylife – Ahhhhhh, your six word memoir speaks VOLUMES! Thank you for sharing it here 🙂
hmm. . . I’m going to have to give it some thought to come up with a six-word memoir. Wordsmithing and trying to say things concisely is so much fun–but also challenging.
Sheryl – I hope you’ll come back and share it with us once you’ve got it 🙂
Lovely memoir and photo, Laurie! 🙂
My 6 word memoir would be:
“Everlasting passion for freedom and happiness.”
Eva – You hit the ball right outta the park! Excellent!
For Sale baby shoes never worn..would be a part of my story.
My memoir would be – Lust for life filleth her cup.
Thumbelina81 – I enjoyed reading your six-word memoir 🙂 thank you for sharing it here.
Thank you for this opportunity to connect with you. Your Life Path information has assisted me so much in counseling my clients. My website is http://www.ascendedearth.com .
My six word memoir would be:
Committed to healing Humanity, with Love ♥
Debbie – I’m glad you’re finding the Life Path information useful, thank you for letting me know. I just visited your lovely website – wonderful! And I especially like your six word memoir 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words! I have found your information to be invaluable. I am a Life Path 7, to a “t” 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!
I Nominate you for a Special Bouquet of Awards – 3 Nominations
please accept it and oblige
there are no linkbacks for this award
Ajaytao2010 – Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.
thank you dear Laurie
Love this idea Laurie! My six word story would be, “Started out shy, learned to fly.” Thanks for this and other creative posts!
HelpWithYourLife – I love it, fantastic!
Hey Laurie! 🙂 I’ve nominated you for an award! Please accept!
There are no linkbacks to this award!
Trisha – Well goodness sakes, thank you very much 🙂
Hi Laurie, what a fantastic blog you have !
I have two 6 word memories : Reflection is the mother of learning … Time is the greatest gift of all …
I try to live my life after those two sentences 🙂 // Maria
Maria – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your two six-word memoirs: “Reflection is the mother of learning” and “Time — the greatest gift of all.” Thank you for sharing them here 🙂
for the love of God, I cannot come up with anything 😀
The Vanilla Housewife – Ahhhh, but I think you just did: “I can’t come up with anything.” 🙂
let it not be a forecast of my writing though 🙂
Pingback: Berberian Sound Studio, This is the End and Ozu Festival on Monday Morning Diary (June 17) | Wonders in the Dark
What a brilliant exercise, Laurie. Wish I could be in your class–sounds like a good one! I can’t begin to abbreviate my life to 6 words at the moment–but I will work on this. Excellent memoir exercise.
Sara and I have finally moved into our long-term rental here in Ecuador, and furniture arrived over the weekend. Now we have some place to sit. Maybe that means I’ll be able to write again.
Kathy – Once you’ve crafted your six-word memoir, I hope you’ll come back here and share it with us.
Ahhhhhh, a long-term place to sniggle your toes into. That’s the best! I look forward to your up-and-coming blog posts 🙂
Pingback: 6 word memoir | Ted Howard NZ's Blog
Pingback: What Can Your 6 Words Do? | The Business Experience Show on Sports Radio AM 830 KLAA | Radio Show Blog
Pingback: James Gandolfini, The Sun Thief, Tokyo Story and Ozu Festival, The Attack, A Highjacking, Man of Steel, Hannah Arendt and Forbidden Planet on Monday Morning Diary (June 24) | Wonders in the Dark
6 words: “I will think about this now” 😉
Bert0001 – I hope you’ll come back and share what you decide 🙂
Pingback: Can you do it? | jean's writing
Thank you for including my post in the “Related Article” lineup.
Pingback: ABC Awesome Blog Content Award – The Illustrated ABC’s of Rachie | Rachie Adventures