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Boys. When I was 14 years old, I couldn’t stand them. The narcissism, the obsession with sports, the fact that they could get away with going shirtless and I could not.

Then there were the show-offs—those who were a combination of all the above obnoxious characteristics. Show-offs like Gary—the only boy who had the nerve to wear red shorts in gym class instead of school-mandated blue. The only one …

I had lost all hope in myself and the world. I'd lost everything, or so I had thought. The utilities, the house was on its way. I'd lost my children. My dignity. My self-respect. My significant other stood out of reach. I felt abandoned. Lost. No one seemed to understand. …

In 1967, having failed the military draft physical and relieved of being sent off to fight in Vietnam, I found employment in Los Angeles and began soaking up the ambiance of the Sixties youth scene there. Late one Friday night a ruckus broke out in the street outside my hotel, and another roomer and I climbed out on the fire escape to witness the action below. Suddenly a …

Once wrapped in a cocoon of happiness I would start my days worshiping the sun and my nights caressing the moon. Unlike the ethereal family portrait taken just two weeks before my moment, the picture of my life shattered and I've been walking on broken glass and fragments of metal since. The only sign of my life, it seems, is the bloody foot prints I leave behind as I'm always …

BLESSED BY MY FATHER’S BIDET

My father was a mechanical engineer by training, a soldier in a bomb disposal squad in World War II, who left his secure and comfortable job as lead inventor for an auto accessory company to start his own business in pursuit of his passion: to put an affordable bidet of his own design in every home and hospital room in the U.S. …

I didn’t see him at first. I was running along a lonely dirt road when he came out of nowhere and charged at me. I stopped. He stopped. I ran back a few steps and he advanced. I was heaving with hot breath, cold fear and astonishment. He was not yet close enough to touch me, but I was close enough to see that …

I'm 10. An American boy. When I walk into my first English sweet shop in Coxlodge, the tiny ex-mining village of my ancestors, it's like entering a strange, exotic parallel universe. There's candy, but it's all different: Smarties, Crunchy Bars, Gob Stoppers. There's newspapers, but they have pictures of naked women in them. This totally blows my 10-year-old mind. Pretty women with naked knockers right …

I am at the stop sign at the corner of Pierce and Cavanaugh Lake Roads returning from a visit with my oncologist. I check if there are any cars coming and see that I am the only one on this road. It is as my car begins to move forward that I become aware of the opening. Not a literal opening but how else to describe the second the veil …

Every Christmas when I was younger, I would ask for stacks of composition books. My father and grandmother would give me several at a time. They were $1.29 apiece from Walgreen’s and had those speckled designs on them a la “Harriet the Spy.” I was really into the pop music explosion of the late 90s at the time, so I filled those pages with stories about a boy band called …

It was Christmas 1996, and my only sister gave me a book as a present. She said,"I am a little hesitant giving this to you, as I know you are on the edge, but I liked it, so Merry Christmas". It was a book of traveling stories by women. “I want to go!” I said, laughing as I passed the book around. I stole a peak at my new …

This moment occurred when liquid became image and the meaning of the image became fluid.

My black patent leather 3-inch heels hit the soupy stream of mud and gravel as I sprint toward the blurry mirage of red tail lights and black stretch vehicles in the distance. My uncle steps out of a car into the rain to stop me. 

“Thanks for coming today,” he says with officiality. He grabs my hand and pulls my breathless chest toward him in an awkward embrace. “Jeeeez, I …

I was surrounded by thirty hot Italian men in business suits. It was the 6th of September in Milan; the perfume of hope and stale sweat punctured the studio as we cast for a bank commercial. My demeanor was all business; I was no longer daunted by castings for Speedo or D&G underwear. It was a job. Besides, long-legged, single American girls were considered dessert in this country. I …

How Two Cobras Changed My Life …

When I was seven years old and growing up in Brooklyn, my parents gave me a small, red transistor radio for my birthday. It was 1969. The radio played AM stations and I thought it was the best present in the world. In 69' this was cutting edge technology and before FM and stereos were commonplace in households. My new radio was the size of a small trinket …

I had never seen grief up close and personal until that Spring day at high noon. This wasn’t your typical funeral; this was a four-hour ceremony at Church with a capitol C -- my work colleague’s mother was the First Lady of one of the largest Baptist churches in Los Angeles. I stood in the overflow section with my senses heightened: Family members held Kleenex to their …

I was five years old, because I remember being in kindergarten and refusing to cut with my left handed scissors (they were rusty and green). It was right after school and I remember running through the sandbox, even though my mother insisted it was time to go home. My mother was pulling my little brother by the arm, and I ran as fast as I could to the swings. …

On July 17, 2008, I fulfilled a 20 year journalistic dream by interviewing His Holiness The Dalai Lama when he came to Philadelphia to speak. The seeds were planted when I was the publisher of Visions Magazine (1988-1998) and interviewed some of the best known movers and shakers in the transformational fields, on the planet. The path from there to here was a testament to the power of manifestation. …

I was 15 years old when I went to a gay bar for the first time. My older brother David secured a fake ID for me and drove us from Lake Jackson, Texas, to Houston (unbeknownst to our parents) to go to a series of clubs, including that one. It was the first time I’d heard of poppers, the first time I’d witnessed two men kissing, and the first time …

He sat and watched them walking by like a parade, carrying little plastic coolers, pushing baby carriages, a collapsible chair over one shoulder. Echoing through the alley and over little brick houses, music emanated, muffled but audible. He still couldn’t believe this was his neighborhood—these were his neighbors, now.

All over the city sat invitations to various parties and B-B-Q’s. He was ignoring them, not because he didn’t want …
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The Moment Book

Moments from the SMITH Community

Tomorrowland "Daisy, F3," my son Archer says as we pull into our parking spot. Disneyland’s about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts. *** The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tightly over my head. My husband, Hal, offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's …
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With Both Hands Whenever I think of my mother, my mind flips to this story. Not to the whole story, but right to the middle of it, the worst moments of it. For me, that's where the story always starts. My mother was beating the hell out of me. The first few blows seemed to come from every direction as I grabbed my nightgown and pulled it over my head, not …
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Reasons to be Thankful By Robert Israel They scraped me off the street, my bicycle in a heap nearby, and ever so gingerly placed me on the gurney. A crowd of curious onlookers watched intently, thankful they were not being loaded onto the ambulance. The nurses at the hospital were calming as nurses are wont to be, and administered an intravenous tube of morphine, and soon everything around me became fuzzy and numb, and the …
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Read More Community Moments →
 
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