Monday, September 5th, 2011
Welcome to SMITH. Our tagline is “Everyone has a story—what’s yours?” and we hope you’ll tell one or more of yours here. The “Six Words About Work” contest featured on “Talk of the Nation” is over, but we welcome anyone who has arrived here via NPR or elsewhere, and hope you’ll stay awhile.
Here are some of the things happening on SMITH. For updates on contests, books, and live events, sign up for our monthly newsletter in the top-right corner of this page and join our vibrant Facebook group. You can follow us on Twitter for one well-chosen Six-Word Memoir each day.
The most popular thing to do is read and write Six-Word Memoirs. More than half-a-million Six-Word Memoirs have been shared on SMITH and on our site for teen scribes, SMITHTeens. We’ve created five books of Six-Word Memoirs, including a Japanese translation, and are always working on more. We’re also thrilled to announce that this fall both the Six-Word-a-Day calendar and Six-Word Memoir game will be released. For more on the history of Six Words, and the wild ways the form is being used around the world, listen to Larry Smith’s talk at South by Southwest, “How To Create an Internet Phenomenon for Peanuts,” or watch his video at the 2010 PopTech conference.
You can read and writer longer stories in one of our many Story Projects. The Moment is a place for stories, told in words, photographs, and comics, about turning points, revelations, epiphanies, and other dramatic changes that had a profound impact on your life. Harper Perennial will release a book of more than 125 “Moments” in January 2012. My Life So Far is populated by personal essays and “memoirs in progress”—a place for emerging writers to find their voice. Brushes With Fame are readers’ brief encounters with famous folks, in strange places and odd circumstances. On Freeze Frame, readers post a photo of the stuff affixed to the front of their fridges and then write a brief essay unraveling their meaning.
SMITH has a vibrant life offline as well. We work with youth writing programs, use storytelling for team bonding and mission building at companies and nonprofits, and hold live storytelling events around the country. On September 21, we present our fourth Six-Word Story Show of 2011 at the 92YTribeca. The theme is “Six Words on the Jewish Life” and features the bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Deborah Copaken Kogan, along with a few newcomers to the stage. Leave your own Six Words on the Jewish Life on our Facebook Wall—one short-form scribe will be selected to join the other storytellers to tell a six-minute backstory at the show.
We do storytelling projects with partners ranging from The New York Times, Bono’s One.org, the Drug Policy Alliance, Mercer consulting, and Honest Tea. Six Words are especially popular in classrooms of every grade level and description, and we’ve created two free downloadable teachers’ guides and feature classroom projects on our Six-Word blog. We’re launching a nationwide Six-Word Memoir project for art schools—check out our Gallery of Sixes for a peek at the elegance and intensity of the illustrated Six-Word Memoir.
For more on SMITH’s origin and what we’re all about, read our About page. But our mission is really quite simple: SMITH is a place for passionate, personal, and true storytelling. We hope you’ll jump in.