By Joanne Guidoccio
Whenever I attend workshops, I take note of any icebreakers. While some participants may groan, I find these short, introductory exercises very effective in creating community and stimulating creativity.
One of my favorites is the “Six-Word Memoir,” a spinoff of the challenge once given to Ernest Hemingway: Write a story using only six words.
His reply was quick and succinct: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, asked his fans to describe their lives in exactly six words. Intended to be a one-month contest, the project took on a life of its own. Since that time, Smith has received millions of responses, from the hilarious to the bittersweet to the inspirational. You can find out more here.
At the workshop where I was first introduced to this project, the facilitator shared the following examples:
“Married by Elvis, divorced by Friday.”
“I still make coffee for two.”
“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends.”
And these from celebrities:
“Seeking the fullest expression of self.” Oprah Winfrey
“Healed with steel, then got real.” Dr. Mehmet Oz
“Me see world! Me write stories!” Elizabeth Gilbert
“The miserable story leads to royalties.” Frank McCourt
“Fear not, live in the now.” Goldie Hawn
“Secret of life: family, friends, bacon.” Katie Couric
“Divorce your story, marry the truth.” Tony Robbins
Here’s my six-word memoir:
“Enjoying the process of reinventing myself.”
Any other six-word memoirs out there?