If you had exactly six words to describe your life, what would they be? That’s the challenge the online storytelling community I founded, SMITH Magazine, has posed since 2006. We call these short life stories “Six-Word Memoirs,” a reinvention of the form that, according to literary lore, Hemingway created when he was challenged to write a novel in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”).
The six-word limitation forces us to figure out the essence of who we are and what matters most. Above all, this concise form is often the starting point for larger discussions. And that’s exactly what we hope will happen with the latest chapter in the six-word story, the just-published Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life, with hundreds of Six-Word Memoirs that offer personal windows into the Jewish world. Below are six I love.
“Everything with us a question. Why?” – Mark Rosenblum
This miniature memoir captures the heart and soul of why the Six-Word Memoir books have become so popular, especially in classrooms and at conferences. The six words are an easy icebreaker, a simple catalyst to begin talking about your life. You can flip through our new book on Jewish life or any of the books, pick a six-worder at random and just start talking about it. Mark’s memoir is kind of “meta”—a question about questions—and well timed as Passover (and the most famous four questions in Jewish history) approaches.