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I met Allison when I was in the midst of a lengthy dating drought. She was a friend of some friends, and the first time we spoke was when we were out to dinner with them. I was immediately attracted to her. This happens to me often – like every day. The only thoughts in my head are generally “Would bang. Would bang. Would bang. Would definitely bang. Whoa – looks like she doesn’t shave her legs…Would still consider it.” (Do not confuse this with “Love at first sight.” That is a terrible term that should never have been invented. This is just me wandering through life half-crazy because I never get laid with any sort of regularity.)

What’s rare for me, however, is …

By Sara Stefanini


It knocked me to the ground with the force of a big, ripe coconut falling from a palm tree.

Oh no, wait. It was a massive coconut that fell dozens of meters and smashed into the back of my head.

In that first moment though, I had no idea what it was. The pain cut deep through the top of my skull and spread every which way, until it all went blurry and dark. My legs gave way and I fell to the ground grasping my head, unsure of where the hit had come from and whether it was the first of more.

Then I saw it: A smiling coconut, silently rolling away.

As …

When I was 10, my little brother hosted his birthday party at Safari Sam's, an indoor complex that combined an arcade and one of those big indoor playgrounds with colorful plastic pipes and nets and a severely unsanitary ball pit. (In the late 90s, everyone in my neighborhood had their parties there. I'd been to one where the fun times were shit on – literally – when management had to close the playground portion because some kid was unable to control his bowels and had left his mark throughout the tunnels.)

Mom told me I was allowed to bring one person, and I chose Amanda, my first ever "girlfriend.” I was only in fifth grade, but I felt like it was time for Amanda …

By Robert Israel

For the first decade of my life, I lived with my immigrant grandparents in their triple-decker in South Providence, Rhode Island where Yiddish and Russian were the primary languages spoken in the home, synagogue and in the neighborhood. Very early on I learned how to mimic and later translate the coarse words and phrases I heard into English. I also learned some hard lessons about the economics of piecework.

In those days, in Providence in particular, either you worked by the piece with schmates (cloth garments), or you worked by the piece in jewelry shops. When my father, the late Maj. Harold N. Israel, who served in India and Burma during World War II, returned stateside, he found work …

The chill wind is determined to take the roof off of my house. Forceful winds here sound like ghosts haunting empty rooms. For 15 years I have lived here and listened to the howling, gusting, unforgiving air, sucking the moisture out of every living thing it passes. On rare occasions when the winds are calm, it is the coyotes coming down from the hills, to search for sustenance, that fill in the void left by the wind with their eerie, keening calls.

Rumors are flying at work that our alternative high school is closing. I have been there for 5 years, working as the school secretary, the registrar, the attendance clerk, the payroll and finance clerks, the health assistant, and, …

My grandson. A flurry of words, observations, questions, and Confucius-like wisdom contained in the mind of one 8 year old boy.

We are in the car, on a weekend adventure, and he rattles off one knock-knock joke, then another. Then silence. Soon enough, another joke; 'If you are American in the living room, what are you in the bathroom?' (The answer: European.) Elementary humor, but I am amused.

As we wend our way through the canyon, along the river, I take the curves slower than I would if driving alone. He is prone to carsickness after traveling this winding road. Quietly, he watches the sky, the trees, the steep rocky hillsides, and points out the cows grazing on …

When I launched my blog, Confessionsof a Worrywart, I worried about appearing frivolous or insensitive to my readers, especially those with real problems. A friend, whose daughter has cystic fibrosis, once told me, “When they find a cure for CF, I’ll worry about world peace.” Another friend calls the things I worry about “white girl worries.”

Seven years ago a 200-year-old poplar tree fell on my house, causing damage that took a year to repair. I said to my psychotherapist, “How can I complain, given that we’re safe, while our family friends just lost their son in a car crash?” He replied with the shrink party line, “You’re entitled to your worries.” Entitled? Perhaps. But who can deny that there is …

The first time I was raped, or I guess I should say molested? I wasn't penetrated really and a woman was the rapist. I was so young I don't even know how old I was, but I do remember my mother dressed me that morning. I must have been very little if I wasn't even dressing myself yet. Being dressed by my mother that morning is actually one of the sweetest memories I have of my life with her. It was early in the morning, still dark. It was cold and snowing very heavily. She woke me gently and tenderly. She kissed me I think. My mother had my clothes laid out on the bed. …

This is tough. My mother hates me. To be fair, she's ill. Through experience, lot's of reading and therapy I have discovered she suffers from borderline personality disorder. Albeit undiagnosed by a doctor. But those with BPD are rarely diagnosed by a doctor because they are incapable of recognizing they have a problem and unwilling to seek help if they do. To give you an idea of what BPD looks like, it is believed that Joan Crawford and Mary Todd Lincoln suffered this disorder. I'd like to add that there are individuals who have been able to recognize their problem with BPD and seek help, as well as work toward health. My intention is absolutely not to …

He texted me this past Saturday afternoon (after already texting me twice early in the morning, while I was still sleeping, and then leaving me two voicemails thereafter.) "Why aren't you calling?" he asks.

This has become routine on Saturday mornings: He is an earlier riser than I - at least on weekends... I sleep in but he is ready to talk and is up for adventure.

The man cub is not an obsessed stalker, not a jealous husband.... no, not either of those. He is eight, and he is my grandson.

And he is absolutely my favorite kid in the universe. Without him, my life would be lacking half of its comic relief and my heart …

Dull pencil and some sheets of paper grasped in my fist, I sat on the dirty, cold, cluttered floor in the basement. My chosen room of my own. Although rendered insensible with copious amounts of rum, nicotine, hydrochlorot, lamictal, alprazalam, metaprolol, hydrocodone and effexor I felt an intense need to write. Completely wasted, I thought my flesh was glowing in the dark room, pupils close to fixed and dilated. Yet I needed to put words on paper. I have always written, especially when times were tough. I drowsily thought I could somehow make some sense out of how I had ended up with this crippling anxiety, depression, panic and pain.
I wrote until I eventually passed out on the …

It takes practice. It's very similar to meditation. There are steps and levels to accumulate.
I'll share my first attempt (1 year ago).
I followed the instructions thoroughly, agonizingly starting over after every twitch of the leg. I actually cheated and took sleeping pills an hour before my attempts. Then I did what is called "Paradoxical Sleeping" and that’s when half of you is awake, and half of you is asleep. You can open your eyes, speak, think, but your whole body is paralyzed. Pretty cool, huh? I never experienced any hallucinating creatures though, but I do remember seeing my thoughts. I think of it like this:
you know when you close your eyes, and you look at the back of your eye …

We were returning to Manhattan after a weekend on the beach. We were sleepy, our limbs long and languorous, our skin salty and sticky. It had reached that point in the journey when conversations wilt and fade into silence, when texts are sent out of boredom and there’s a sudden shift in atmosphere, an awareness we’ve been sitting for hours, crammed like a game of sardines that’s continued too long, and everyone aches to see the familiarity of the city’s skyline. It was a Sunday and it was the summer, my first in New York, a stretch of time I’d later recall with mixed feelings – hints of sadness and envy -- but at that moment it was simply an incredible summer. …

I’m sitting on my bed wearing an oversized blue Dakine sweatshirt, fiddling with the end of my stick-flat straight-ironed hair, flipping for Orlando Bloom in Teen People magazine. Chad Kroger’s voice fills the room on medium-high as he reminisces about his high school days and bad break ups, and I listen wholeheartedly to his low gravelly growl and moody guitar riffs that make me feel like a rebel- this must be the sensation they warned me about in Youth Group- my index finger taps the stereo remote’s mute button, ready, in case my mother walks in and hears the god forbid “d word.” She thinks Nickelback is a Christian praise band.

Cobwebs, Vodka and My Bathroom Mirror.

The shadow of the spider on my wall will haunt my dreams tonight and as long as it shows itself to me, I will not be able to sleep peacefully. I will not have a peaceful dream where I would know what serenity feels like, serenity in the form of calm and tranquility in a dream state, an alternate world in my sub-conscience, where I once used to dream of love and endless days of joy.
And now I’m stuck here at the bottom of my courage, at the end of my rope and no longer can I and no longer will I ever …

Ordinary heroes are hard enough to find some days, but you’ll hear plenty of stories about community superheroes this time of year. People yearn to feel good when something’s finished, even if it’s a calendar.

“Hope you have a happy, healthy new year,” we say, weak with thoughts of champagne and midnight kisses and new outlooks.

Yet endings show up for the brave and courageous, too, and endings arrive without happies and healthies or warm fuzzies.

Superman proved this to me, with the help of his wife.

She was my Sunday school teacher one year, but I just remember the Gushers she brought for snacks. Now I’m too old for a godmother, and I’m maxed out on fun aunts, …

They say our greatest strength is our greatest weakness. While I acknowledge this is very often true, I have my own slant on this viewpoint. My contention is that the greatest of our natural talents, (our "gifts," as my family is fond of calling them), are also our greatest burdens, sources of anxiety, and migraine-inducers.

Ask anyone in my family what my "gift" is, and they'll each tell you the same thing: "She's a writer." They'd all be mistaken, but even that won't get me off the hook. In truth, and to a certain degree, I understand their confusion. Yes, I have an intrinsic knack for writing. I have a pretty substantial vocabulary and a sturdy command of the English language. I can cut …

These hats are like nothing I’ve ever known. They start out with a special kind of yarn. The yarn is usually made out of a string of six words that virtual strangers sometimes drop onto this web that’s been woven together by some sort of stellar connection I don’t quite understand.

The yarn is usually colored in hope or despair as the words that are used to make it are sheared from the soul. Then, while the yarn spinner quietly unravels the knots in his spirit, this lady gets busy with a few tugs at the raw fabric that is dropped. Sometimes the yarn is already drawn and twisted, but she gathers it to her heart anyway to see how she can …

The eerie tornado siren was clamoring through the wet air and piercing my senses with panic. I could feel my heart palpitating in my chest and the blood coursing through my veins. In every room the television was tuned into a news station with the newscasters saying ominously, “…in El Paso, Teller, and Lincoln counties there are tornado warnings…we have multiple cloud formations showing us the imminent danger in these areas. Please take cover immediately.”
I was four hours into my shift at the nursing home where I work. Yet, just a few hours earlier as I walked through the doors at two o’clock, the skies were a pale blue, with white puffy clouds dotting the skies, and brilliant sunshine …

Dear Olive,
It's a very strange feeling - loving, hating, fearing and longing for someone, the idea of someone, who doesn't exist. To put aside things I'd like to give you and share with you, and to feel a sickness when I think about you really being here. This is selfish. What woman has ever looked forward to labor? I just don't know if I can do it again and I'm sorry. I'm sorry because in my mind, you have existed since the day Constantine was conceived. I've imagined your voice, your eyes, your hair. I've passed by clothes and imagined you wearing them. I have watched Constantine learn to crawl, to say words, try new foods, and imagined you doing the same.
When we …
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