The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs—In the Classroom, in our New Book

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

By Larry Smith


Every Six-Word Memoir book is a different process. They’re all bound by this simple concept—”your life in exactly six words”—but the vibe is never the same. And never has the experience of receiving the submissions been so intense and amazing as it has been for for our upcoming book, Things Don’t Have to be Complicated: The Art of Six-Word Memoirs by Students of the World. This is our first eBook, and it will be published by TED Books, a division of the TED Conference. (Check at two such submissions at the top and bottom of this post.) When an editor at TED Books called wondering if there was a SMITH book that I thought would be a good fit for TED I answered instantly. TED stands for “technology, education and design”; Six-Word Memoirs are taught in classrooms around the world and often the students tell their stories with both words and images. A TED Book of illustrated Six-Word Memoirs solely by students is an ideal way to hit notes—education and design—that are an essential reason why Six-Word Memoirs aren’t a fleeting Internet phenomenon but a form that’s taking on life after life because it’s a conduit for truly meaningful storytelling.

So as the school year is upon us that’s a long way of saying as that I want to remind students and teachers that our deadline for this new book is October 30; you can read the submission guidelines here. This note from a high school student in California is just a sample of the kinds of emails I’ve been receiving since we announced this new book. Her submission is below, followed by her note to me.

I am 16 years old…My poem was inspired by the Six-Word Memoir project and each line has exactly six words. My artwork revolves around a similar theme except that it implies that only God can see the truth.

Every action made is a reflection:
A reflection of who I am.

Being a Pakistani Muslim in America,
Eyes stare as I walk past;
People judging the way I look:
The scarf I wear so proudly.

No one really knows about me,
Yet their judgment comes so readily.

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2 responses

  1. canadafreeze says:

    This is what gives me hope for humanity - our beautiful, talented, inspiring youth.

  2. laura says:

    I started doing this project in my classroom and it has taken off! It’s amazing to see how insightful young adults are and I will be displaying this wonderful poem and picture in my classroom! Thank you.

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