Book 6 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read on Jan. 21
Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
Summary (excerpted from Goodreads)
Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.
When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way, too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.
From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-size pieces.
What an interesting concept. There is a website, sixwordmemoirs.com, that lists more and I will definitely spend some time browsing around there.
This was a fun, quick read. It's like people watching because I was given a brief glimpse into a life and could speculate on their backstory. I was very curious about some of them but in the end am glad they stuck with the format and didn't explain any of them.
It's natural to think about what your own six-word memoir would be. If I was in a jokey mood mine would be "It was worth wearing pants for". If I was being serious I would say "A simple pinecone changed my life". In the spirit of the book, I will leave it at that.
A Few Examples from the Book
"Followed rules, not dreams. Never again." ~ Margaret Hellerstein
"Girlfriend is pregnant, my husband said." ~ Shonna MacDonald
"Never really finished anything, except cake." ~ Carletta Perkins
"It's like forever, only much shorter." ~ Pete DeVito
"Should have learned to count." ~ David Wheatley
"More than yesterday, less than tomorrow." ~ Nichiren Nahuel Palombo
"Cadavers played an unexpectedly large part." ~ Mary Roach