Online storytelling is great, but sometimes we all get the urge to take it live. If you can’t wait til our May 18th Six-Word Story Slam, at least you can scratch the itch for now. Head to Philadelphia for Tuesday night’s Slam Nation at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. You’ll see all kinds of nonfiction storytelling heroes from This American Life, The Moth, etc, plus Michele Carlo, a frequent SMITH contributor (and winner of Next-Door Neighbor story contest, who brought down the house at our last 92YTribeca event in New York. Take some pictures for us!
Five years ago, on January 6, 2006, I launched SMITH Magazine with Tim Barkow, a guy I met on the first day of college. We got along well because we both liked New Wave rock and making media. We had tons of ideas; he was better at the behind-the-scenes, backend building of stuff. I was better at inspiring the troops and talking the ear off of anyone who would listen about what we were up to.
We worked on all kinds of stuff together, including, years later, launching this magazine. After years of trying to get fancy publishers behind it, or raising money from people who had it, we just did it on our own. We had no budget, staff, or business plan. What we did have was a strong belief in these six ideas:
• Everyone has a story, and everyone should have a place to tell it.
• We all have stories, but most of us aren’t asked to tell them, or made to feel that our story is interesting. Read more »
Forget your ill will against city pigeons and squawky parrots for a second and check out the incredible, endearing, and often amusing birds at Ornithoblogical. Every day in 2010, Anna Raff, award-winning illustrator and Six-Word Memoirist, has been featuring a new bird-themed watercolor illustration along with a witty title (such as “Ornitholopis,” above, and “Nightingale,” below). Raff has unleashed a force of playful creativity, and now wants you to join in by naming her untitled illustration for her “Official Ornithoblogical Day: 300 Bird Call for Entries.”
The Rules: Visit Ornithoblogical contest page to see the featured image for Day 300 and think up a title in six words or less. Send your entry (or entries) with “Bird Call” in the subject line to email@example.com by midnight EST on Sunday, October 10. Entries that meet the requirements will be sent to a panel of judges, including our own Larry Smith; the winning title will be posted with Anna’s illustration at noon on October 26. First prize: a portfolio of 10 signed prints selected from Ornithoblogical.
We’re sharing our six fix with 10Q, a user-generated project we love—one inspired by the traditional 10 days of reflection between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It works like this: Login to the 10Q site and answer one question a day in your own secret 10Q space. One year later, your answers will be sent back to you for private reflection. From there, you can decide to keep your answers private or share them with the world. This year, 10Q is adding an 11th Q with SMITH Mag: “In just six words, what will the next year bring to your life or the world overall?”
You don’t have to be Jewish to love 10Q. The project is a great way for anyone to look back at the year that’s past, look ahead at the year to come, and take stock. Head over to the 10Q site to participate.
You’re walking along the street and all of a sudden, some random stranger catches your eye. You only get a glimpse before they’re gone, but there’s something about that person that makes them persist in your thoughts the rest of the day.
Nothing you can do about it, right? iSawYou strives to remedy that by allowing users to submit their stories of those ephemeral connections. Even if you don’t have your own sighting to report, iSawYou is a fascinating collection of stories. Some sightings are wistful—”I hope you notice me next time and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the gumption to say ‘hello’.” Some sightings are bitter—”I’ll forgive you [for not saying hi] because you are surely embarrassed for the way you treated me.” And some are just very, very mysterious—”Your eyes were red and I wondered why.”
I see you, iSawYou, using the power of the internet so that maybe people can find The One for them that had been so darn elusive…
In our loftiest literary dreams, all poetry would be written in the great outdoors with an antique typewriter resting atop a small wooden desk. Following composition, the author would read the work aloud with passion and conviction to an eager and captivated audience.
Photo by Nick Vagnoni
In South Florida, this utopian vision is a reality—but not without a fee! (If a very small one.) Once a month, the Miami Poetry Collective runs an outdoor, public event called the Poem Depot, where the organization’s resident poets set up shop with tables and clacking typewriters on a busy Miami street to crank out fresh, personalized poetry, starting at $2 a poem. Read more »
If you’re a collector of vintage clothing, you know that more often than not, an old item can give you a glimpse into the life of the previous owner. A lingering smell of perfume, a sewn on patch or a cigarette burn, these relics have the power to change a common place garment into a mysterious, wearable story. The unpredictable and (sometimes) fascinating narrative behind vintage clothing has been complied together on Sentimental Value, an ongoing blog that showcases endearing stories of clothing and accessories found on eBay.
One of our favorite submissions, “Coach Kirby Sateen Tennis Shoes–size 7.5,” tells the story of a beautiful nurse (happily married too!) who has been the object of a relentless romantic pursuit by a fellow doctor. His latest attempt to woo her was a pair of stylish coach tennis shoes, which she immediate gave away to a friend of hers. With size 9 feet, the friend had no choice but to sell the shoes on eBay. How’s that for some sentimental value!?
To learn more about the blog and these noteworthy stories from eBay, check out this amazing Ignite video the site’s creator, Emily Spivack.
We fancy ourselves the brainchild of both old and new media, conceived from old-fashioned storytelling and powered by the instantaneous world of tweets, and blog-a-zines. Stemming from similar origins, Longshot Magazine, formerly known as 48HR Mag (CBS, please don’t sue us!), takes a traditional journalistic medium–the magazine–and uses the newest tools, mixed with raw ambition, to push beyond the media’s old limitations. Mission: write, photograph, illustrate, design, edit, and ship a magazine in two days.
There isn’t a better story than history itself: relatable characters, a well-crafted story, and one hopes, truth.
As the old but good saying goes, a picture is worth 1,000 words (or about 166 Six-Word Memoirs), which is why we’re loving the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s new online database of historical images. The Tenement Museum, a historical tenement building on 97 Orchard Street in New York City, has housed over 7,000 immigrants in a neighborhood that (until recent history’s hipster invasion), has been home to the poor and working class. The Tenement’s new online archive showcases over 1,300 photos of 97 Orchard Street and the people that lived there. The images are fully accessible and searchable, offering a rich history of the NYC’s Lower East Side.
We love an odd, passionate personal media project around here. This week, we’ve found a site that reaches across the web into the real world, specifically the world of postcards—a project that just might change the way college dorm rooms are decorated (sayonara Pulp Fiction poster).
Inspired by her love of postcards, Harvard sophomore Clara Y. has launched The Great Postcard Skyline Project. Her objective? To create a sprawling urban skyline against her dorm room wall. Her architectural medium? Postcards from different locations, common and obscure, sent from both the U.S. and abroad. Check out her list to see what spots on the map she’s missing (we know you’re out there Mississippi!)—Clara welcomes your contributions to her well-traveled skyline. If you do have a postcard to add, she lists her mailing address on her site, so you can send it the old-fashioned way.