Editors’ Blog

Member of the Week: Robin Templeton

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

By Larry Smith

This week’s Member of the Week is something of a famous one in a storytelling world that plays with the line between the professional and amateur, the celebrity and unknown. Robin Templeton is the author of the first six-word memoir that appears in the first book: “After Harvard, had baby with crackhead.” Her short, short life story is everything that a six-word memoir hopes to be: honest, specific, authentic, personal, true.

At our book launch party in February 2008 at Housing Works, contributors came from all over the country. They would introduce themselves by memoir (”I’m Jace, page 123, ‘To make a long story short…’”). When the other contributors realized who Robin was, they all sort of came up to her to kiss the ring. They thanked her for her honesty and bravery, and they encouraged her to write more. Now Robin’s working on a full-length memoir about her life, one we hope to see between the pages of pulpy paper soon.

None of the above, however, is why Robin is SMITH’s Member of the Week. We’ve selected her because she’s just contributed a new story to SMITH in our My Life So Far story project—and this story a few more thousand words than her last one. It’s called “Breaking Up With My Mother,” and is a version of an essay she wrote for an anthology from Soft Skull Press, Who’s Your Mama: The Unsung Voices of Women and Mothers. Robin’s newest words remind me of her first six words in this space: honest, specific, authentic, personal, true.

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