Your Life Story–in Just Six Words?

As a writer, I am always looking for new and interesting ways to tell a story. That’s why I was particularly drawn to this segment Six-Word Memoirs Can Say It All” featured on the CBS Early Show today in which Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser talked about their new book: “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.” The book resulted from submissions for a contest launched by Smith Magazine, in which people wrote six-word stories of their own, as memoirs. The idea grew out of the a literary legend that “that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged in a bar to write a story in only six words, a novel that would tell the whole story, and he wrote, ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ “

Even celebrities, such as Stephen Colbert and Joan Rivers submitted their respective six-word memoirs. After listening to those of the Early Show anchors, I was inspired to write one as well. The basic premise is that you don’t have to be a professional writer to write your life story (a topic I frequently cover in my classes and genealogy lectures). “But, with six words, anyone can start,..” says Smith.

I’ve ordered a copy of the book and can’t wait to read it. Taking this exercise a bit further, I then decided to write six-word summaries about a few of my ancestors (below).

Why not give it a try yourself?

My “Six-Word” Memoir:

Devoted daughter. Must write. Ever striving.

“Six-word” tributes to my ancestors:

Anna Figlar Alzo (my mother): Generous heart. Wonderful cook. Dearly missed.

John Alzo (my father): “Shoot Your Best Shot” Carpenter. Smiles.

John Figlar (maternal grandfather): Rugged Rusyn. Disciplinarian. “I’m the Boss!”

Verona Straka Figlar (maternal grandmother): Family devotion. Inner strength. My inspiration.

John Alzo, Sr. (paternal grandfather): Deep faith. Died too soon. Handyman.

Elizabeth Fenscak Alzo (paternal grandmother): Fine hair. Tough as nails. Enigma.

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