SMITH Team News

Brevity is the Soul of It

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

By Larry Smith

your-life-in-six-bons-mots.jpgWe are so grateful for the incredible response—worldwide at this point—to SMITH Mag’s just released book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. Some 832 six-word memoirists, most of whom have never been published anywhere before, have shared the most intimate details of their lives with perfect strangers, and done so with humor, creativity, and candor—in just six words. This little book, which costs less than the next bottle of wine you’ll pick up on your way to a party, is a manifestation of everything we believe about storytelling: populist, accessible, fun, profound, and addictive. That was our short, sweet message in a recent piece co-editor Rachel Fershleiser and I wrote about the power of six words on the op-ed pages of The LA Times.

bbc-radio-4-today-programme-six-word-memoir.jpgThe reviews that have come in from a wild range of places: Vanity Fair, The New York Post, Publishers Weekly, Playboy, Penthouse, O Magazine, ReadyMade, Philadelphia Magazine,, and BlackBook, among others. We’re thrilled to be featured on radio shows as far and wide as the BBC’s Today Programme, Utah’s KCPW public radio, and a recent 2am live segment on “The Joey Reynolds Show” (where, oddly, Rachel was given two bowls of soup on her way out). The six-word video, made in an 18-hour marathon by SMITH cofounder Tim Barkow, was featured on The Daily Tube, and then started popping up all over the place. And we hope you’ll tune in on Thursday, Feb. 7, as we talk about six-word memoirs and the power of personal storytelling on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

litparkloveslarry.jpgMany of the book’s contributors have been its greatest supporters, like Melissa Delzio, a Portland, OR designer whose six-word life story is, “Put whole self in, shook about”—and who we can’t wait to meet on our upcoming book tour. And I especially want to call out two pieces that meant a lot among all this wonderful coverage. Ben Kaplan’s “A Life in Six Bon Mots” in Canada’s National Post got the six-word memoir project’s heart and soul better than any piece I’ve read. Susan Henderson’s interview with Rachel and I—and killer presentation—in her popular writers’ site LitPark is a piece I’ll be pointing to for a long time when someone says: So, what’s SMITH’s story?

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98 responses

  1. Simon says:

    gurgle, no, yes, maybe, never mind

  2. Rachel says:

    Rachel, oddly, came home and ate spilt pea at 4am. Then she tripped over her laptop’s power cord, dove to rescue it, and royally screwed up her right wrist (which, as she “Never learned to drive or type.” is responsible for all typing, while her left hangs limp or scratches her head). Doctor says it’s probably fine, and also that she does her neurotic writer persona justice, even in her injuries.

    Anyway, um, buy our book!

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