Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Today, January 6, is National Smith Day, a day we didn’t invent, but appreciated so much that three years ago this day Tim Barkow and I decided to launch our storytelling magazine. We called it SMITH not because of the guys for whom the day was named–Captain John Smith (who helped to settle Jamestown in 1607), or explorer Jedediah Smith (an explorer and all-around tough guy)–or even because it’s my last name. In my mind, Smith is really my late grandfather’s, a Russian immigrant who arrived with little and found his American dream through hard work and unwavering optimism. He was a wonderful storyteller, and a true Smith in the sense of the word meaning one who creates-like a wordsmith or blacksmith. Smith is also the most popular name in the country, and represents our belief that everyone has a story, and everyone should have a place to tell it. I decided to put that last name in all caps and start a magazine with the hope that SMITH Magazine’s infectious, addictive and passionate spirit will spread to all of us. We’ve been at it for three years and get stronger with each story, whether just six words or thousands more.
To celebrate three years of SMITH, we’ve engaged in a full redesign, with more community tools and features (one of my favorites is that you can turn any story into an ecard-try it, it’s fun). We’ll be putting the reader-submitted stories front and center in 2009, many which will find their ways into SMITH books later. On this very day, Harper Perennial releases our newest book, Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure. It’s delightful, weirdly deep, and less than $10. Share it with someone you love.