Editors’ Blog

Contest: Your Six-Word Housing Story

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

By Elizabeth Minkel

Maybe you spent years looking for the perfect fixer-upper—or maybe you lost it all when the real estate bubble burst. Whether you live in a Park Slope co-op or a split-level ranch, you can probably say something about housing in just six words. Mary Elizabeth Williams, who spent the better part of three years house hunting in New York City, summed it all up with, “Priced out of Brooklyn, discovered Manhattan.”

We’ve got an interview with Williams over at Memoirville, as well as an excerpt from her new book, Gimme Shelter: Ugly Houses, Cruddy Neighborhoods, Fast-Talking Brokers, and Toxic Mortgages: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream. So we’re putting out a call for submissions: what’s your six-word housing story? Hurry up and post your memoirs here. Williams will pick her three favorites, and each winner will receive a copy of Gimme Shelter, with one grand-prize winner also taking home both six-word memoir books.

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79 responses

  1. Colorado Rocks says:

    double-wide refrigerator, sleeps two, rolls

  2. fieldoffice says:

    Flat for sale, hoping to stay.

  3. VoodooLady says:

    His dream. My nightmare. Haunted house.

  4. deever says:

    Girlfriend has rent control, moved in.

  5. supposedtobeworking says:

    Great home, pre-sprayed by male cat

  6. sumarie says:

    …but the yard was so beautiful.

  7. sumarie says:

    Adorably small. Too small? Now his.

  8. Angela Gunn says:

    Sumps? How’d this happen to me?!

  9. sjsunshine says:

    Won houseful of furniture. Lack house.

  10. Sharon Michalove says:

    Looked at four. Picked the first.

  11. JBlanton says:

    Built the Dream; Bills keep coming!

  12. JBlanton says:

    Four More Rooms to keep Clean!

  13. JBlanton says:

    Wished Master room wasn’t above garage!

  14. JBlanton says:

    Loan papers had too many asterisks!

  15. JBlanton says:

    The neighborhood is a Ghost Town!

  16. sjsunshine says:

    Mom learns son’s foreclosure from newspaper.

  17. Ash K says:

    Glad I never inherited that shack.

  18. GOTFilms says:

    Sometimes white picket fences need repainting.

  19. Betsalah says:

    No larger than a refrigerator box.

  20. Colorado Rocks says:

    Cheeseless Joad mice, should’ve clued us! .

  21. Colorado Rocks says:

    Cheeseless Joad mice, Housing Market clues

  22. Colorado Rocks says:

    Joad Mice, Our Housing Market clue.

  23. Colorado Rocks says:

    Tarpaper means, Soon repossesed our dreams,

  24. Colorado Rocks says:

    Tarpaper Shack, Love endures, That’s that!

  25. Colorado Rocks says:

    Cheap! Livable Sardine Can, __ Sprung Roof!

  26. Colorado Rocks says:

    Doublewide Refrigerator Mobile Home, Sleers Two

  27. Colorado Rocks says:

    Doublewide Refrigerator Mobile Home, Sleeps Two

  28. Colorado Rocks says:

    Mobile Doublewide Refrigerator Flat,, Two Horsepower

  29. Colorado Rocks says:

    Fixerupper , Livable Sardine Can __ Sprung Roof

  30. Colorado Rocks says:

    Love enduring time tested tarpaper shack

  31. Now in Connecticut says:

    Sold Forida House & Condo 08, Happy

  32. Joe_Patrick says:

    Foreclosure victims now searching for closure.

  33. KK in PA says:

    Hate siding. Love stone, can’t afford.

  34. Jeanette Cheezum says:

    We decided to flip and flopped.

  35. Jeanette Cheezum says:

    Left large home, bought beach condo.

  36. Gravy059 says:

    Last house on the left, Right?

  37. TFox says:

    Moving into 55+. But I’m 37.

  38. CONTEST: Your six-word travel stories | Editors’ Blog says:

    [...] week, we asked you for your six-word housing memoirs, and we got a fair number of horror stories. This week, we want you to leave home behind: [...]

  39. Jace Albao says:

    Bought her out. Then I remodeled.

  40. Seamania says:

    Overtaxed Hundredth-Acre Wood.

  41. Some guy says:

    Two bedrooms. Backyard. Affordable. Queens represent.

  42. ChowChow says:

    Big mortgage, deep debt; prostitution pays

  43. Bob says:

    Psychotic neighbors, drunken super, 20% increase.

  44. ChowChow says:

    Would you like fries with that?

  45. MelbaToast says:

    Too many neighbors, too little space.

  46. daisytagger says:

    Cinderblock fences multiply faster than dogs.

  47. daisytagger says:

    Borrowed against equity. Can’t breathe underwater.

  48. JFish51 says:

    Waiting for dream house; pondering options.

  49. daisytagger says:

    Oasis in a sea of graffiti.

  50. GottaLoveNYLori says:

    Lost river view. Found naked neighbors.

  51. TallulahBankhead says:

    Landlord stopped heat, must flee immediately.

  52. WestVillageDreamer says:

    From Doorman Luxury To FlopHouse Blues :(

  53. ChiefBaby says:

    Tazmanian Devil Landlady Hires Crackhead Handymen

  54. Reade says:

    Park Sleeping: A Bench Too Far

  55. Reade says:

    Crash Site: Hanging Out, Hooking Up

  56. Shari says:

    got dream house, infested with rats

  57. West Village Cohabitant says:

    Lost job, apartment. Living with boyfriend.

  58. Jeanmarie says:

    No bathroom, but lots of tools.

  59. Gail says:

    For sale: moneypit near ocean - cheap.

  60. joninnyc says:

    half bathtub, in kitchen, gottabe kidding

  61. Gail says:

    Dumping my husband, keeping the dump.

  62. Kirsti says:

    Great house…two miles from parents.

  63. Kirsti says:

    Handyman’s special, but we’re not handymen.

  64. Susanna says:

    Greenwich village bred, Jersey City overhead!

  65. Susanna says:

    Home in Jersey, mind in Manhattan.

  66. Sara says:

    Three copies of foreclosure notice redundant.

  67. Jennifer Z says:

    For rent: Toxic ex not included.

  68. Randirella says:

    Five grand monthly. No heat.

  69. Michael D.Murphy says:

    Sweet house just ask the termites

  70. Jean G. says:

    Househunting, layoff, repeat, repeat. Still renting.

  71. Therese M says:

    A cockroach crawled across my face.

  72. Noa says:

    Found him face up. CPR failed.

  73. Joe_Patrick says:


  74. maria says:

    Good thing my mortgage is fixed.

  75. And the Winners of the Six-Word Housing Story Contest Are… | Editors’ Blog says:

    [...] than 200 of you left your six words in the comments section of her interview as well as below the initial contest call. We saw themes emerge, such as caring for parents (”Living with Dad. Babysitting the [...]

  76. Kathleen says:

    Six kids, true love, 1910 house.

  77. lmommy says:

    roaches surrounded claw-footed tub at night

  78. lmommy says:

    our street is lined with pick-ups

  79. lmommy says:

    you mow. i bake. we are.

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