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On August 30, 2008, my life was changed for the better. At 5:12 a.m., after a long day in the hospital, five and a half hours of intense labor and two hours of pushing, my sister-in-law gave birth to my nephew, Henry Jonas Harrell.
Now, only my brother would name his kid after a song by his favorite band, but that’s Tim. The name Jonas came from the song “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer. And as for Henry, well, not much goes well with the last name Harrell. Apart from a slightly odd name for this day and age, Henry was a bit on the perfect side. Weighing in at 7 pounds 10 ounces and stretching a span of 21 inches, Henry …

I huddled into the corner,
shaking hands and uncontrollable convulsions.
I can see the bottle piled high from floor to dresser.

My rouge lipstick is fighting a battle with a forced pucker from my mouth - in the end she wins - I don't even bother to wipe my chin to remove the excess. I look at the clock, it's almost twelve and I cannot keep a client waiting. Some may say my job is a rebellion, my war against the world for leaving me empty handed. No, it's my antidote. …

She needs me to listen because she has no one else.

i love her, but she's so lost in her own world that she barely responds when i talk to her.

"i'm really afraid i'll be unhappy for the rest of my life."

"mmmm."

"I don't know what to do."

"yeah."

silence, and then she talks about herself. selfish because she's lonely, i was that way too. i don't want to burden her with the things i'm fighting - i do not believe she can help me right now.

she needs me to listen because she has no one else. i need someone like me; i have no one at all.

i feel so lost. i feel …

Well, it’s happened. The number we were betting on has at long last come up. It sure seemed to take its time but well, we finally hit it. Eighteen! What a great number! All it took was a roll of the dice, some risk and a little luck.

No, we didn’t win the lottery. Something better happened. Our son turned eighteen today and we, his exceptional parents have won a long-standing bet. We played a long shot on that giant spinning roulette wheel, THE UNIVERSE, betting we could get our son safely to eighteen while carefully dodging the poorer odds of smoking, drugs, alcohol, a pregnant girl, tattoos, holes-in-body and Mohawks. Yes, it was a tough bet and those odds were stacked heavily …

        I was a complete breach birth, for which, perhaps, my mother has never forgiven me, and that thorny emotional issue, combined with entering the world ass-backwards, may well be the only two, or possibly, even one, tale (quasi-pun intended) I have to tell.  
        I read in an old diary recently that my mother's first comment upon my reddish hair and general appearance was: "she looks just like my father!" followed by "what did they name her?"  In those days of pre-history (sorry, Mom, I poke fun at myself here too), women were knocked out completely (Hm: alternate title: Knocked Up to Knocked Out?), so she would have been woozy upon our first meeting.  Whereas I, of course, …

The room is placid, like the immediate aftermath of a San Francisco earthquake. The people are gone, Two hundred pizzas made, two hundred fed. The rush is over. We rolled, we prepped, we cooked. The crime scene left on the ground shows signs of a hard day’s work. “Los Pizzeros,” as the dishwashers like to call us, are cleaning up the exhausted area. Pablo wipes down the dough station while he speaks of Norma Talamadge’s performance as “The Dove” as Dmitry talks of Palahniuk and the Battle of Stalingrad. As time passes, all is left to do is to sweep. One station reveals a heap of softened gracious flour as if “Little Boy” was filled with white powder and our Pizza station was Hiroshima. The …

On Sunday, my husband and I took our daughter back to Rutgers to start her sophomore year. Frankly, I’d been dreading the day for weeks. Not that she’d been around very much this summer; working two jobs, vacationing with friends in Rhode Island for a week, meeting up with people in every corner of our home state of New Jersey. In other words, doing her level best to show us how independent she was after only one year of living away from home. At times, I got this palpable feeling that she was more than the image we had of her in our minds: that she was still behaving like she always did, not making her bed in the mornings or curling up into the …

I have a friend who recently asked me to do him a favor. Jim, my ‘very, very good friend’ had just purchased a brand new 42” flat screen and needed my help in setting it up. I say ‘very, very good friend’ because he gave me a free TV, his old Sony 32”, which weighed as much as a Panzer 38(t) tank but worked just fine.

Jim has a nerve disorder that limits his legs, arms and hands from operating in a way he’d like them to. He can drive a car, do his own shopping and cook his own meals but his balance and mobility are severely challenged. Little tasks that require dexterity such as screwing in a light bulb or changing a …

I was getting older. I was getting infirm. Had to make some decisions. Decided to move to the city, get an apartment, be closer to the market, the doctor. My mind was getting like swiss cheese...snippets of love, horror, joy, pain....these were all I knew.

Once I got there, I sat in my apartment, trying to adjust to the noise, the grime, the generally depressing nature of too much humanity crowded into too little space and a bunch of boxes. Ventured out only to go to market, or get pricked by the medical people. I sat in my apartment, not knowing anyone, not reaching out, for I had reached before, but like the greek, the sun had ruined my feathers. My once shiny, well …

OBEYING THE ALPHA (PART II)

In the middle of our intensive training, I decided to take a full-time job. While I enjoyed the independence of freelancing, I needed the security of having a steady income to pay for the lifestyle to which Frankie and I had grown accustomed. When I left for work each day Frankie would be confined to the kitchen, since she was only half way potty-trained and so she wouldn’t destroy anything.

The first week at work was tough. I was part of a small design firm with just five people situated in the ground floor an apartment in Greenwich Village, owned by Mrs. Rebecca Rosenstein. The work seemed quite creative and we had access to the back garden to …

When I bought Frankie on a whim from an overweight couple in the backwoods of East Texas, I hadn’t fully thought through the life-changing decision I was making. I was home for a long weekend after three months in New York, and had no prior intention of getting a dog. I wasn’t a “dog person.” Or a cat person, for that matter. I liked puppies and kittens, in that order, but didn’t like full-grown pets a lick.

Maybe it’s because we had a constant string of dogs growing up—they came in and out of our lives as often as new pairs of shoes. Some we got as adorable puppies, some as scraggly strays; the one thing they all had in common was that they …

As a true middle lifer I can now appreciate all that my mother and all the other women went through to get where I now am. Age 55 is halfway -- half on the good part of where life was and half way on the other side! Middle Age women I always imagined to be old, fat and ugly. But now I am one of them and hope that I am none of those, even tho I do need to lose a few pounds. Questions that I had as a little girl have continued into adulthood, just different questions now. How will life be for me in the years left? Will I end up in one of those nursing homes or will I need looking …

A Suicidal, Homicidal, “Paranoid Schizophrenic,”
I Escaped Psychiatry Alive!


Notice:
Non-gender wording/spelling: Hse replaces he/she/him/her/his. Hseself replaces himself, herself.


In the beginning there was God,
the Spirit of Unconditional Divinity,
the Trinity of Power, Truth, and Love.
Every human is born a spirit of goodness with a physical body,
senses formulated, environmental reactive, motivating emotions,
and logical but naive thinking, conscious-aware mind,
a co-created child of man and God.

Fulfilling the Human Potential:
The Spiritual Directed Self
To mankind alone, is the potential, purpose, and fulfillment
— the calling of the spirit to unconditional love —
— Enlightenment —
When the capasity to feel is filled with love, the power of love …

At that moment I knew I would finish out my days in a place for those who have gone beyond the parameters of an acceptable normal and it came as a flash, a split second of insight into the universal consciousness: I had just had a conversation (well, one-sided I admit) with a blue M&M who had escaped my attempts to eat it several times, to which I attributed its strong desire to live, and told it so. But ate it anyway and felt just the twinge of remorse.

I have recalled that moment often, wondering of its portent and making comparisons to current activities to see how close I was getting to the edge, wondering if I would recognize …

I've hugged life with both arms.

My love affair with the galaxy far, far way started with The Empire Strikes Back. Mom had dug it out of a box packed with blank tapes all full of movies and cartoons that had been recorded off of TV. According to the peeling orange Kodak label on the spine of the tape, this one was a sci-fi double feature Dad had bootlegged off of HBO with Empire playing second to David Lynch’s Dune. As it wound up to about where Mom thought Empire should start, she cracked out the ironing board, looking to kill a couple of birds with one stone while she watched with me.
The tape was snowy and the sound a bit warbled at the tail end of Dune’s credits …

Frozen Pizza

In middle school I stomached through a stage where I consistently craved pepperoni bagel pizzas and marshmallow-laden cereal for dinner. I would come home from soccer practice, microwave a few bagel pizzas, pour some cereal and milk, grab a glass artificially-flavored juice – usually Hi-C or Sunny-D – and sit down to enjoy my delicious repast in the company of my favorite dining companion, the television. Reflecting on this phase in the spectrum of my eating habits, I’m grateful not to be experiencing the direct consequences of my childhood tastes today in the form of obesity or diabetes. However, as the years pass by and I continue to adjust to the demands of the body I inhabit and world I live …

When I remember the street now, I always remember it at night, as if that were the only time there was on the street. The only time when things would happen to people, and I would have to pick up the pieces. But not just night, but middle of the night, that three in morning time when only the cops, the drunks and us are left to prowl around in some kind of three way dance, that leaves people lying in the gutter bleeding. My partner and I are heading back to the station after the 20th call since we had come on duty at 8 am the morning before. Not one of the calls serious, just another long shift filled with sick, lame, and …

Wedding(s) of Us

So, my youngest turns to me asking, "How old were you when you married Dad, Mom?"

As with most people my age, I am sure, the reply involved some mental math. I am at that age requiring my fingers and loose mnemonics to arrive at the appropriate number. A few years ago, how old would have eased out of my gray matter onto my lips. Math skills, at this age, wasn't the only issue. My husband and I had actually several ceremonies during the years prior to the actual wedding.

As a flower child, in the age of the hippie, counting myself as such still humbly proud, we eschewed such rituals as ringing emptily in …
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