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Everyone Has a Moment—What’s Yours?

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

By Larry Smith

We’re in the homestretch of The Moment project, our newest book, one that’s once again fueled by the brilliance of the SMITH Magazine community. This challenge may be more than six words, but the song remains the same: it’s all about personal, passionate, meaningful storytelling. Like the Six-Word Memoir project, The Moment has turned out to be quite addictive. You’ve sent notes such as, “ever since I heard about the idea, I can’t stop wondering which moment changed my life the most,” and “I can’t stop readings the stories on the site…find myself bawling my eyes out.”

I’ve had email exchanges and calls with many writers, famous and obscure, who at first aren’t sure if they have a “moment”; by the end of these conversations, everyone does. And many of you have already shared multiple moments. A SMITH member who goes by the handle “Writingcocoon” has written two stories, “Trapped” (about how an incident in which she was trapped inside a bathroom stall at age five led to a lifetime of anxiety) and “Death Is Everywhere” (how as a volunteer, at age 10, at a convalescent home changed her young world view on mortality).

When we announced The Moment project, we described it as a book of “moments” in which your life changed, told via words, images, texts, and maybe even tweets. I had a sense that the SMITH community would take this challenge and make it their own, putting forth the kinds of stories you can’t dictate or predict—which is exactly what happened. So what’s a “Moment”?

A Moment is…the call Marc Ashmore received at age 10, explaining he needed to sign the papers to release the body of his deceased father.

A Moment is…the feeling that Judy Clement Wall had as she watched four young girls play on the water’s edge, realizing that “love can break you open and empty you out in the blink of an eye.”

A Moment is…the conversation author Elizabeth Gilbert overhead her parents having one evening, causing her four-year-old brain to fill with “the most eerie and unsettling realization—namely, that these two people, my parents, existed separately from me.”

A Moment is…seeing the Tattoo Summer Pierre’s mom had inked as a tribute to her daughter since she was so often away from her while on the road working for The Rolling Stones.

A Moment…is hearing the words “call me” from a woman Kirk Citron was not supposed to meet, at a party he wasn’t supposed to attend, and the course of events that rapidly took place.

A Moment is…the night Michael Castleman’s mother got dinner on the table late—a simple act, one evening, that changed the course of his life.

A Moment…can even be six words, as SMITH member Erin McIntosh reveals with her story, “I overheard, ‘I want a divorce.’ “

Not sure what your own “Moment” is? Toss out the topic over lunch, around the water cooler, or at the bar, and you’ll be amazed what people will tell you, and how their stories will spur on your own. We’ve extended the deadline until just after the New Year (see our About page for word counts and specs for artists and photographers). All we know for sure is that everyone has a Moment. We hope you’ll share yours here.

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