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Mini memoirs

I was standing in the shower this morning luxuriating in the transformative power of the streaming water as it enveloped my body. My whole being is invigorated by this daily activity. It is so much more than a cleansing ritual. Being warm and relaxed always fuels my mind into action. I find that the words for something I have been wrestling with suddenly appear, ideas take shape, and more often than not decisions are made as I am showering.

For as long as I can remember water has had a way of casting a magical spell on me – it doesn’t matter whether I am looking at it, immersed in it, reading about it, or thinking about it – the reaction is always the same. Water transports me to someplace where things become clearer.

My thoughts this morning moved to a book sitting on my beside table – Not Quite What I Was Planning. This book contains a selection of six word memoirs by famous and ‘obscure’ writers.

This book is a glorious mishmash … it’s a thousand little windows into humanity – six words at a time (p. ix).

The original six word story is believed to date back to Ernest Hemingway when he wrote, For sale: baby shoes, never worn. In November 2006 SMITH Magazine decided to take Hemingway’s form and slightly alter it by suggesting people create their own six word memoir. Before they knew it memoirs were being created and shared like a rampant viral infection, especially online using Twitter and the blogosphere. SMITH Magazine received thousands of submissions on their web site and the first book of these was published and another one is in the pipeline.

SMITH is a home for storytelling of all forms and kinds, with a focus on personal narrative. We believe everyone has a story, and everyone should have a place to tell it.

Storytelling has never been easier, more democratic, and, on the good days, interesting. It’s an amazing time for media makers, one in which content is often bottom up rather than top down, aspirational, populist, forward thinking, and most of all, participatory. SMITH is both a place for professional and never-before-published writers, artists, and photographers, bound together by a passion for storytelling.

SMITH is the most popular surname in America. It represents us all, each of us living our extraordinary lives—day by day, story by story.

Source: About SMITH

“What is your six word memoir?” I asked myself as I stood in the steamy shower cubicle.

As ideas came to me I wanted to write them down, but I was in the shower! For a long time I have been meaning to buy a chinagraph pencil so I can record all these thoughts onto the walls of our shower before they are lost into the ether. As I still haven’t bought one of these pencils I have no choice but to revert to more traditional tools. This generally means me racing out of the shower, naked, dripping wet, desperately in search of pen and paper; a sight to definitely be avoided!

You might be wondering what I eventually came up with?

Here is my six word memoir. It speaks of my life so far.


To illustrate my six word memoir I chose this photo I took of a lily from the pond in our garden. This bricked fish pond sits at the entrance to our home. Our home is a special place full of love and energy. This lily plant has its roots in soil sitting deep beneath the surface of the water. It is murky down there but this plant still grows and produces the beautiful flower. It just keeps pointing towards the light to guide its path. The long, cylindrical stalk emerges from the water and stands straight and tall. As I looked at this lily I admired its strength and its delicate colour drew me to it.

The leaves break the bandage of the green stem, stretch themselves and form a green pool with untidy edges. Now the flower comes from out of the vast surface of the water, just like a very beautiful woman coming gracefully from her bath.
Old Chinese Poem

If everyone has a story, what’s yours?

I have a challenge for all of you. Why don’t you write your own six word memoir today. It would be fantastic if you were prepared to share your memoir by posting it as a comment to this post and/or by sharing in on the SMITH Magazine web site – you might even feature in their next book. I can’t wait to read your story.

Danced in Fields of Infinite Possibilities.
Deepak Chopra

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