"Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."
In this spirit, Smith Magazine invited writers "famous and obscure" to distill their own life stories into exactly six words. It All Changed in an Instant is the fourth collection of very, very brief life stories from Smith. The tiny memoirs are sometimes sad, often funny — and always concise.
It All Changed in an Instant is full of well-known names — from activist Gloria Steinem ("Life is one big editorial meeting"), to author Frank McCourt ("The miserable childhood leads to royalties"), to actress Molly Ringwald ("Acting is not all I am").
Larry Smith, founding editor of Smith, and Rachel Fershleiser, Smith's memoir editor, talk to NPR's Rebecca Roberts about the fun and the challenge of capturing real-life stories in six little words.
Smith's six-word memoir? "Now I obsessively count the words." And Fershleiser's: "Bookstore to book tour in seconds."Can you write your autobiography in one sentence?
Some examples from "It All Changed in an Instant:"
Found on Craigslist: table, apartment, fiance.
Alzheimer's: meeting new people every day.
Met wife at her bachelorette party.
Family portrait: everyone smiles but me.
I picked passion. Now I'm poor.
Kathleen E. Whitlock
Yale at 16, downhill from there.
Anita Kawatra "
This is kind of fun! Here's the first one I thought of: Childhood vs. Responsibility; Belief vs. Doubt.
Perhaps: I thought I understood; I didn't.
or: Under the radar but still flying.
Try it! Leave me your 6 word autobiography in a comment.