by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

They say that Ernest Hemingway was asked by a fan to tell a story in as few words as possible. His answer was “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn”.

Following this lead, in 2006, Smith Magazine asked readers to write their memoirs in six words and send them to the magazine. Thousands of people answered the call, their answers providing enough material for four books, so far.

The titles of the books are:

Not Quite What I Was Planning.
Six Words Memoirs on Love and Heart Break
I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets (by Teens)
It All Changed in an Instant.

I was introduced to these books by my friend Joan who lent me “It All Changed in an Instant”. Little did she know that, that very day, I was supposed to answer the questions for my interview in TeensReadToo to mark the publication of the paperback edition of my young adult novel Two Moon Princess ( The second question was (I’m not making this up) “Your Own Six Word Memoir.”

When I saw the question for the first time I had no idea what to say, but after reading the book my mind started working in ‘six word mode’ and I came up not with one but several possible memoirs. It also inspired me to answer the other questions shorter and more to the point. Reading this book had transformed what I thought an impossibly boring task into something fun.

Serious, funny, inspirational, sometimes at the same time, these six-words memoirs are a great read. But if you buy the books, be careful they are terribly addictive.

Here are some examples.

Found on Craiglist: table, apartment, fiancé.

Started off kosher. Then, discovered bacon.

Good housekeeper. I kept the house.

Heart in SF. Arm in Vietnam.

Dealt bad cards. Played them well.

Bachelor Party. YouTube video. Wedding canceled.

Love at first sight. Needed glasses.

Just in: boyfriend’s gay. Merry Christmas.

Woman Seeks Men–High Pain Threshold.

Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that.

If you’re curious to see mine, please go to

And if you want to leave yours, please click in comments. I’ll love to read them.