Limiting vocabulary creates concise, lasting memoirs
People use thousands of words daily. Do they always contemplate word choice? I would tend to say no. What if we’re limited to six? That’s right, six words – that’s it. It is really not that easy. Believe me, it is a struggle. These sentences consist of six words! You can go back and check. Go on, keep counting – one, two… It almost becomes a sick obsession.
Phew! Alright, I am going to take a break now from my six-word sentence allotment and allow myself, a writer, to use the English language without pause. Why did I torture my wordy self by limiting my vocabulary this way? Because I wanted the challenge that so many people have taken – to write something influential in only six words. My challenge was a little different, as I was writing a paragraph consisting of six word sentences. What many people have done is attempt to write their life memoir in six words!
Larry Smith, creator of the blog smithmag.net, is all about six word memoirs. His Six-Word Memoir project is part of a series of five books dedicated to recording extremely shortened versions of peoples’ life stories. On the blog, anyone can participate by sending in their six-word memoirs. There are also various categories of “six-worders” to choose from such as life, love, planet, teens, Jewish and questions.
So who inspired this genre of writing? Ernest Hemingway was once asked to write a story using only six words. His response was, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Now that’s a story. But keep in mind, the memoirs are not only written by famous people. Anybody can write a powerful six word story. SmithMag has created a video of some other memorable six word memoirs. You can watch it here.
The challenge of a limited vocabulary forces you to really think about word choice. That’s why these six word memoirs turn out to be so powerful! If we really thought about what we say – I mean really thought about it, our words would mean so much more. That is why this challenge is so exciting. In order to arrive at an accurate statement of your life in six words, thought, is without question a necessity.
I suggest you write your own six word memoir and post it on the StreetPoetz Facebook page and on smithmag.net! Need some tips? Check out this helpful video from SmithMag, here.
And don’t forget to challenge yourself! My six word memoir? Nicked bat hit a home run.