Thursday, December 1st, 2011
SMITH enthusiasts were sharing Six-Word Memoirs at Saucy Burt’s meatball sandwich cart in downtown Minneapolis on a chilly fall day when December’s Member of the Month Amanda Bausch, her husband Sherman, and her three-year-old son Elijah (pictured above) rolled up on their bikes to join in on the impromptu six-word slam and meatball chow-down.
With a half-eaten sandwich in one hand, Sherman Bausch counted six words on his fingers: “My beard likes the meatball sandwiches!” Elijah piped up with a ponderous six-word question: “Why is fire so hot, Dad?” And Amanda Bausch opined on life with her quirky family: “Better than I could have planned.”
“I’m pretty sure I was counting my words for the rest of the day,” says Bausch, who joined SMITH Magazine’s online community that evening.
Recently, between cycling, yoga, raising her son Elijah, and visits to Saucy Burt’s, Amanda Bausch took a few minutes to answer six questions from her home in Minneapolis.
Name: Amanda Bausch
Town: Minneapolis, MN
Member since: September 24, 2011
What do you enjoy about being a part of the SMITH Magazine community?
The Six-Word Memoirs really appeal to me. I sometimes like filling in the backstory as well. So often you read something and say “I could have written this.” I don’t consider myself a writer at all, but I do take photos. I think that these little memoirs are just like photos. They capture that second of thought, that moment that you may forget the importance of. That kind of documentation appeals to me.
What keeps you coming back to SMITH?
I think it’s that SMITH is easy to come back to. What I mean is that I don’t have an enormous amount of time to read or write, but I can usually read a quick story or a couple of Six-Word Memoirs at some point during the day, often while on the bus. I’ll also forget to read anything other than Goodnight Moon, but then I remember, “Oh! There are other things to read!” It’s nice that I can just start again on SMITH.
What place does word play have in your family?
Elijah had a bit of trouble with his speech early on so a focus on words became more and more important. We’ve had times when we speak in rhyme or haiku, and we’ve had singing days, but the day at Saucy Burt’s food cart was our first six-word day.
Having Elijah means there are very few quiet spaces. There is a lot of talk, a lot of questions, and lots of opportunity to learn. We play with words daily. Rhyming games, alphabet games, making up stories, we do a lot of it. We are a house of (pretend) songwriters, too. We sing about a lot of things…quite often badly with really ambitious rhymes.
Why is storytelling important to you?
Storytelling is amazing. I’ve never considered myself a great storyteller, probably because I’ve been around so many amazing ones. My Aunt CJ is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard; her stories about family can make time pass in an instant. Anything I know about my family history pretty much comes from her stories, true or embellished. I love that a story can make you feel anything an action can. It’s a great way to bring someone into a moment.
We’ve started telling a lot more traditional format stories lately. A few weeks ago Elijah asked me to tell him a story about “Finn the Fish.” Neither Sherman nor I know where this came from, but the stories started. Finn the Fish does a lot of things, including drive a convertible and ride on a train. He has friends named Vinnie and Monkey with a Tail. At the end of every story, Elijah responds “Tell me another Finn the Fish story.” Thinking of these stories on the fly is seriously hard work.
What do you aspire to?
At this very moment? Right now, I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I’m all about putting up enormous Christmas trees, doing hot yoga, telling Finn the Fish stories, making killer French silk pie, and watching Dr. Who. I’m sure that’s not all. Photos, parenting, yoga, learning, loving, walking. That’s probably the top six. My dream-world aspirations? I’d love to teach yoga and to really have it help people like it has helped me. And in my dream world, Elijah would be potty-trained.
Finally, Amanda Bausch, what’s your Six-Word Memoir?
Finn the Fish needs more adventures.
Okay, Elijah, you can give us one, too!
My brain wants to not sleep.