Write your memoir in six words

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That's what the editors of Smith magazine asked folks to do for their curious little paperback, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-word Memoirs by Famous & Obscure Writers (Harper Perennial, 219 pages, $12).

Not Quite What Was Planned

The idea seems a little silly, I know, but its origins are indeed literary — it's based on Ernest Hemingway's legendary six-word story: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." You have to admit, that's pretty powerful — and it forces the reader to speculate as to what the bigger picture is.

Here are some of the famous entries:

* Danced in fields of infinite possibilities. (Deepak Chopra)

* Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched. (Amy Sedaris)

* I always suffered fools fairly well. (Richard Ford)

* Revenge is living well, without you. (Joyce Carol Oates)

* Fifteen years since last professional haircut. (Dave Eggers)

* Well, I thought it was funny. (Stephen Colbert)

And some of the obscure:

* Gin joints. Love affairs. No relation. (Dean Ellis)

* Savior complex makes for many disappointments. (Alanna Schubach)

* Same mistakes. Over and over again. (Matthew Oransky)

* Made a mess. Cleaned it up. (Amy Anderson)

* Fact checker by day, liar by night. (Andy Young)

* Everyone who loved me is dead. (Ellen Fanning)

* Dad wore leather pants in Reno. (John Falk)

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This page contains a single entry by Teresa Budasi published on February 5, 2008 8:37 AM.

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