Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
A fleeting thought about the number of one-word memoir titles atop the bestseller list became a simple SMITH reader challenge: What’s the one-word title of your memoir? As usual, the SMITH community rocked the creative clock, sharing more than 300 one-word memoir titles here on the blog, on our Facebook page, and via Twitter. Your lives are Self-helped, Juxtaposed, Bullshit-ed, Medicated, Inebriated, Dogged, Disrupted, and Reassembled. You revealed that you see yourself, in a word, as Catatonic, F.A.B., Adapted, Assimilated, McLovin’, and Unfinished. Because we offered you the option to expand on your one-word title with a one-sentence description as well, we found out that you are Stirred because of your “life unlived by James Bond,” that your memoir, Mantourage, is about “an almost true love story,” and WithDrawn tells the true story of “an artist, where there’s so much more to me than meets the eye.”
Perhaps with an ear toward our judge, Erin McKean, founder of the wonderful Wordnik (“a place for all the words, and everything known about them”), many of you made up words to get to the essence of who you are in just one. The writer of Peripheraltastique explains that, “at this point in my life I’ve been living on the outskirts of other people’s success and passions—but in a fantastic way where I’ve been taken wonderful places both physically and mentally. Thus—peripheral + fantastic!”
We were so blown away by the submissions that in addition to the winner, we’ve decided to name five runners-up, each of who will receive a surprise book from the good offices of Wordnik.
And the winner is…. Klong.
Say what? Say Klong, the one-word memoir title of Jeremy H., a St. Louis-based essayist and freelance copy-writer and -editor, with an MFA Literary Nonfiction and a Master of Divinity, who appropriately goes by the twitter handle “rewordsmith.” In the one-sentence description he included with his submission, he explains: “Klong is a word coined by Frank Mankiewicz to describe ‘a sudden rush of crud to the heart,’ such rush caused by the realization that all that time, you had been wrong about something.”
Jeremy says he’s called, by his closest friends, a “writer of short-ass sentences.” Our judge, Erin explains that Klong rose to the top “because the most interesting memoirs are about people changing their minds about things. And it’s a new word—which I like.” A copy of Jon Stewart’s Earth (The Book) is heading his way.
Here are the five runners-up with a word or two from our judge.
Solipsist (the story of moi”) by Abby Ellin.
Erin says: “A clever take on the memoir genre. Aren’t all memoirists, at heart, solipsists?”
Distracte… by CarlosNZ
Erin says: “Funny!”
Swexican (my mom’s Swedish), by Aric Roman
Erin says: “Neat new word.”
Anyways … by Lisa Bottone
Erin says: “Colloquial, and suited to telling a story.”
Neurosity (a mix of neurosis and tenacity) by Shira Lazar
Erin says: “Another new word—are people pandering to the judge?”
Thanks for everyone for your amazing word(s)—they’re a blast to read, and inspiring in ways that took me by surprise. Check out many more of the entries on the original contest post.