One of the activities my co-teacher introduces each summer as an ice-breaker is the Six Word Memoir. She originally clipped this idea from a Valentine's Day issue of Readers’ Digest magazine. People summed up their lives and loves in just six words. We have found it challenging and fun to do the same in our classroom!
Here are a couple of examples from the original article:
- Where he is, I am home. (Julia Evans)
- In hindsight, I’d still choose you. (Natana Gill)
- Marriage, children, empty nest: Now what? (Oliver House)
- He e-mailed again, and I deleted. (Molly Antopol)
- Hired me. Fired me. Married me. (Julie Klam)
So, of course, we all write them in class. Some choose to focus on love. Some create a list of topics: a memoir about their childhood, a memoir about teaching, a memoir about love, a memoir about the summer.
I think it’s fun to create a memoir about each stage/aspect of my life: childhood, teenage years, first marriage/divorce, single life, remarriage, motherhood, today.
Here were a couple I wrote during this summer's class:
- Headstrong, too young, bad choice, divorce.
- Second chances lead to life’s treasures.
- Daughters—my heart outside my body.
- Writing, art—bring energy to living.
The words “daily discipline,” of course, doom me before I even begin, but I have done it on again/off again since the class finished up.
I have one of those ten-year journals, where you have just four lines to write about your day.
For example, when I write about July 10, I can see what I was doing or thinking or experiencing on each July 10 prior to this one. My book covers the years 2010 to 2020, so I have really only just begun. (And by the way, I was amazingly faithful to it last year, but there are a few significant gaps this year; I have to believe that after ten years, some two week gaps here and there won’t seem quite as significant!)
Anyway, it occurred to me that this ten-year journal is the perfect place to record my memoirs when I feel inclined to create them. Here are some examples:
- July 2: Zentangles bring me home to art. Reclaiming comfortable position as full-time mom. Too much laundry for one day. Dirt, shovels, sprinkler—true toddler bliss.
- July 3: Still, humid heat makes outside unbearable. Pee, poop, and potties exhaust me. Grilled steak, asparagus, and Corona—ahhh! Long talks draw sisters closer together.
It has also occurred to me that those of you involved in the Index Card a Day challenge could incorporate Six Word Memoirs if you were interested in including meaningful text with your daily drawings and images.
If you decide to try a Six Word Memoir or two, I hope you’ll include it in a comment, or share a link to a blog entry where you try it out!
Enjoy a creative weekend!