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I've always thought of my life in two parts, my self split among them.
The part that existed before a year and a half ago and the part that existed after. I'm not sure if this change is for the better or not though; but maybe someone else can decide that?
Before I was naive. Best in class, valedictorian, loved my grandparents, family. Well mostly. I noticed there were quirks: I was always told don't be like your mom. And there always seemed to be fighting. And I never saw my dad. But it didn't bother me.
It all began after that. I can't remember if it was me, if it was my grandmother. Was it spending too much time on msn or …

It's almost too quiet in the house. Dad's asleep in his bedroom. I'm in mine safe and sound. Mom's about a hundred miles south sealed away in a tomb.
I haven't had enough life experience to give advice but I have had enough life experience to wonder how the world can be both so beautiful and dark. It scares me much like the monster that you believed was under your bed as a child. I'm not supposed to know this. I'm supposed to figure this out in college or when I enter the workforce.
Is it sad that I'm barely seventeen but I feel like I'm seventy?
Let me clarify. I do not have depression. Though I am going back into therapy. I …

Things fell apart at the Godfather Party. As a lapsed Catholic and an Italian who moved away from the extended family, I knew my choices regarding to the holidays: I could lament there’s no grandmother in our kitchen sautéing garlic in the morning and layering the meat, cheese and eggs for a pizza rustica. I could long for the days when a family hike up to my grandfather’s Hudson Valley grape vines was the best way to get an appetite for apple pie. Or, I could rally my husband and daughter to make our holidays in the Midwest exactly what we want: fun and, if possible, infused with some variety of faith. It took us a year to learn this was much easier said than …

Murphy's law, is if there is anything that can go wrong, does. Chase Luck is the most current and up to date example of this phenomenon. My maiden name is Chase, and I can never forget it. Frankly because the curse still follows me to this day.
Chase Luck usually happens in a set. On a bad day, my family can expect not one bad thing to go wrong, not two but at least three things to go down against our wishes. These are not simple things like leaving a book at home when I'm at school. The wrong things can be as complicated as a paycheck gone missing, or as simple as a car breaking down during move day. My father has even …

We're off to Maryland tomorrow!

Not an overly exciting comment out of context, is it?

Well, tomorrow morning, we are off to Maryland. College Park, to check out the University of Maryland, my daughter Erin, her friend Molly, and myself. I've been on college visits over the past few months with Erin, to several colleges. They do start to blend together after a while, even though all decidedly have their differences. The one main theme running through all the visits, for me anyway, is that they all makes me want to go back in time. To go to college again, dorm-livin' and all. Knowing what I know now, of course. If I went back just to "do it all over again," starting from …

What used to be almost every weekend, but has dwindled down to barely one weekend out of the month for me, as my children Erin and Ian have gotten older, more independent, and more stubborn, we take the hour-long ride up the parkway to our weekend house.

"Weekend house" does not accurately define it. It's a seven-day-a-week house if there ever was one. It is my house, my family's house, the one I grew up in. It is a big, old, maintenance-heavy place with a damp basement, a dusty attic with bats, and a big yard with two waterfalls. Since my mom died and my dad moved to the city near us, we have kept it in the family and …

Mouse house canvas dirt floor with ratty rugs; peanut butter scooping spoon in a half eaten jar on a nowhere table. All night pushing, all night grass and acid, all night coming and going, reel to reel, 16 mm.

Moan, grunt up from the bed.
"Far out, man"
She squatted and pushed; after all night long, morning frost, California cold, not sun rising hope, but the challenge of morning light...will you rise to the day?

And there is a still -- of me crowning. In another dimension it was a coronation, the birth of a prince. But 90 miles south, it was an insult to you, to your sensibilities, to what you might have deemed celebratory, magnificent, extraordinary. It was, instead, something to …

Durham, North Carolina is where my father was born and was raised, and where he left to seek his fortune in New York City as a young, handsome man. With more dreams than a dying, industrial, southern city could fulfill. He found a good position in a New York ad agency. There, he met my mother, fell in love, and married her in short order (a month...wow!) In just enough months to make it legitimate, they had me.

My earliest memories involve plane trips down to Grandma's house. On Eastern Airlines, if anyone remembers Eastern Airlines. Out of LaGuardia. We'd go two or three times a year. Remember dressing up for plane rides? Aunt Babs, my father's sister, would come in from Greensboro …

When people see my tattoo, they ask what it’s for, and I tell them. The stone-like cross and yellow rose are in memoriam to my best friend, my biggest supporter, my dad. Oct. 23, 1948 to March 7, 2007.

But I don’t need to be reminded about my dad. I’m constantly surrounded with objects, letters, photos that jog my memory. Even though I live in an apartment he’ll never see and I’ve written and done things he never got to hear me talk about, I think about him every day.

I might have thought about him every day before, but I couldn’t really say because I just took it for granted he would always be there, no matter what I was going …

"Yo man. Let me get this straight. You teach five hours a week and they pay you 50 G's?"

It wasn't a rhetorical question. Calvin, who as far I know answers only to "Hot Rod," was expecting an answer, and I wasn't sure what to say – especially since I was pretty sure that Hot Rod didn't even know that I don't teach in the summers.

"Dawg, I'm in the classroom five hours, but I spend a lot more time preparing for class. It's just like out here, baby (I shove the basketball into the pit of his stomach); I only teach your ass for about an hour, but I spent years perfecting those pretty moves."

Hot Rod chuckles at the lie. …

My life so far is like an archeological dig; layers and layers of memories and messes. Ancient ruins of life changing events, fragments of a broken family tree, fossilized recollections of youth. Keep digging and you’ll find a great discovery or two. A hidden treasure lost, then found. A dusty epic poem to a life’s love, a rusty helmet from ancient gladiatorial days, a tattered and fading painting done in primitive finger paint- a masterpiece none the less. Separately these are recollections of a different time, a different place, a different me.

But together they reconstruct the shining civilization of my life.

Out of the rubble comes the cobblestone roadways of my experiences, grand temples build in homage to personal ideals …

My life so far ? wow tough one. it's been a roller coaster at Ceder point. born in a different world, born different. crying away, sadness is also darkness. i always make mistakes with people. but i now understand its not all my fault. people i love, fly fly away.

The wonderful thing about having a dog is that they love you unconditionally. Skippy, my dog was my best friend. No matter what, she believed in me. I cannot count the times I buried myself in her welcoming mane of fur, a mixture of snot and tears cascading down my face. Skippy was only too happy to lick that all up for me. Somehow, that always me feel better. Now years later as an adult , when I am feeling poorly, I remember my best friends tongue on my face and know that no matter how wonderful they make Kleenexes, none will ever compare to my Skippy!

Skippy was a birthday present to me on my seventh birthday. My father raised sheep and …

Hill 927

It started in the rugged, jungle-shrouded mountains along the Laotian border with South Vietnam. Rising from the floor of the western A Shau Valley, Ap Bia Mountain is a looming, solitary massive, unconnected to the ridges of the surrounding Annamite range. It dominates the northern valley, towering some 937 meters above sea level. Snaking down from its highest peak are a series of ridges and fingers, one of the largest extending southeast to a height of 900 meters, another reaching south to a 916-meter peak. The entire mountain is a rugged, uninviting wilderness blanketed in double and triple-canopy jungle, dense thickets of bamboo, and waist-high elephant grass that in some cases was taller than a man. Local Montagnard tribesmen called Ap Bia …

Confessions of a Necrophiliac

I always had a fascination with death so there was no surprise I became a medical examiner.

Something about the cold lifeless body made me feel warm inside.

I felt powerful standing over the stiff slab of death. I began to enjoy my time in the chilled rooms I could talk for hours their attention would always be on me.

I never had to worry about being waved off or ignored behind the freezer like doors.

Grew up the scapegoat of my three older brothers never been the center of anyone's attention including the attractive females that caused me stammer and stumble when I was in there presence.

I was a nonentity …

Most days I can't remember her, though I have lived far more years as That Woman than This Woman.

And then I bump into someone who knew me Before. And I see her eyes whirl in her head, and dart to the dog at my feet.

"YOU have a dog?"

or:

"YOU? WHAT?"

It isn't quite the same narrative as getting sober, or losing weight. That story is pretty clear. You put down the substance or the activity that was ruining your life, and then your life gets better. Harder, maybe. But better. You fight against temptation. You ask for help. Sometimes you fall. If you're lucky, …

He's my best friend and because of the words i'll never say forever it will stay this way.

I knew I’d be in trouble, I’d crossed the line before and I was about to do it again. With a few decisive snips it was all over, there was no turning back. I had gone from having hair so long it tickled the back of my knee caps, to hair that barely touched the back of my neck. Mum was going to kill me! She had kept a length of my hair from the great chop back when I was eighteen. Preserved in a worn pale-pink hand towel and plaited the very same way it always was.

This was the beginning of what was set to be a very long weekend. With my new freshly cut do I packed some things in my …

I don't dare to scream--my throat's too tight from keeping all the screams in. Model student one day, screaming maniac the next. No one knows. No one knows how much I want to run somewhere and scream my head off.

Too bad I'm too busy worrying how that'll show up on my rep to even attempt it.

Like a bird, I flutter from emotion to emotion. I can't hold grudges, I can't feel love. I jump from group to group, friend to friend. Can't seem to stick with one person, or one people. Can't seem to remember the good times, can't seem to forget the bad times.
They haunt me, the bad times. Railing at myself for mistakes seen in hindsight, traps yawning …
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