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Six-Word Memoirs are life stories conveyed in six words. Since being introduced by the online literary magazine Smith Magazine in November 2006, this extremely concise narrative form has been adapted into writing exercises in classrooms, #sixwords messages on Twitter, as well as some short-form monologue videos on YouTube.
In November 2006, Smith Magazine, an online literary magazine founded by Larry Smith in January that year, asked its readers to submit six-word memoirs via Twitter using the hashtag #sixwords. A small selection of the entries were then compiled and published into a book titled “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure” on February 5th, 2008. According to the publisher’s description, the project was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s classic six word flash fiction, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” On April 3rd, 2008, YouTuber micahsamaniac uploaded a video titled “My Life in 6 Words,” in which he sums up his life story as “a roller coaster ride of unbelievable events” and instructs the viewers to share their own six-word memoirs.
Smith Magazine compiled several more six word memoir collections including “I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets” (2009), “Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak” (2009), and “It All Changed in an Instant.” (2010). The #sixwords hashtag continues to be popular on Twitter, with over 3,000 tweets using the hashtag in February 2014 alone.