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THE MOMENT: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure

The Moment book is here! From SMITH Magazine, creators of the New York Times bestselling Six-Word Memoir series, THE MOMENT: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure (Harper Perennial). The Moment is a collection of and moving personal pieces about key instances - a moment of opportunity, serendipity, calamity, or chaos - that have had profound consequences on our lives.

The stories in The Moment take many forms: written narratives, photographs, comics, illustrations, handwritten letters, tweets, and more. Contributors include bestselling authors Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Gregory Maguire, musicians Melissa Etheridge and Judy Collins, 100-year-old journalism legend Ruth Gruber, up-and-coming new voices such as Benjamin Percy, Tao Lin and Said Sayrafiezadeh, and many people published for the first time ever.

Give The Moment as a gift and then ask the best question in the world: What's your Moment?

The Moment Online Extras

Share Your Moment

Why not share your moment? You could be in a future book! Just submit your Moment below, via email, Facebook, or Twitter (#mymoment).

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The Moment: A Selection

“Crying for Their Dog” by Richard Ferguson (audio)

May 30th, 2012 by Larry Smith

“I stepped into the highway, met him head on, stomped a foot, hollered at him to scram. He stood his ground, kept barking. I kept stomping. The children kept shouting. The dog and I, we just stood there, unmoving, at that rise in the road”.

Since its release earlier this year, we’ve heard from readers across the world that The Moment is a book that people snuggle up with in bed, taking in a few “moments” a night. At the same time, one of the most unexpected pleasures is just how these stories have come alive at the events we’ve had across the country. At SMITH Magazine’s The Moment reading at Gallery at The Bootleg in Los Angeles, storyteller, musician and performance artist Richard Ferguson captivated the crowd with his reading of “Crying for Their Dog.” Here he reads it accompanied by an original score.

Classroom of the Week: Windsor High School’s “Moments”

May 17th, 2012 by Liz Crowder

Inspired by SMITH Magazine’s recent anthology, The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure, English teacher Paul Jolly of Windsor High School in Windsor, CA asked his students write and share some Moments of their own.

Jolly first heard about The Moment when SMITH editor, Larry Smith, was interviewed on San Francisco public radio station KQED. “I loved the book and had shared several stories with my students, all high school juniors and seniors, most of whom have little to no confidence in their writing,” says Jolly. “They’ve had the usual crappy experiences in English class: inability to understand the reading, which leads to an inability to know what kind of help to ask for, which leads to lousy essays, which leads to insights such as, ‘School sucks.’” Read more »

Christine Macdonald’s Moment— “Sunset Strip”

March 19th, 2012 by Larry Smith

Since its release earlier this year, we’ve heard from readers across the world that The Moment is a book that people snuggle up with in bed, reading a few essays a night. At the same time, one of the most unexpected pleasures is just how these stories have come alive at the events we’ve had across the country. At a truly phenomonal evening at San Francsico’s indie gem, Booksmith, a crowd of 75+ people didn’t stir as twelve Moment contributors shared their stories. Here’s Christine Macdonald reading her essay, “Sunset Strip.”

Stephen Tobolowsky’s Moment: “The Moth and the Window”

March 12th, 2012 by Larry Smith

Recognize this guy? It’s the inimitable Stephen Tobolowsky, who you’ve probably seen in Deadwood or Glee, and is perhaps most beloved for his role as Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day. He recently read his piece, “The Moth and the Window” at SMITH Magazine’s The Moment reading at Gallery at The Bootleg in Loa Angeles. Joining Stephen that evening to share their “moments” were Ray Richmond, Rich Ferguson, Rebecca Woolf, Sascha Rothschild, Jeremy Toback, Elizabeth Jayne Liu, Laura Cathcart Robbins, Christine Macdonald, and Craig T. Williams.

THE MOMENT book is out!

January 3rd, 2012 by Larry Smith

The Moment, a new book from SMITH Magazine, has arrived. The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure (Harper Perennial) starts in the middle of blazing fire and ends in Disneyland. In between are 125 moving, personal stories about opportunities, serendipities, epiphanies and calamities that had a profound impact on a single life. SMITH editor Larry Smith talks about The Moment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today (Jan. 3).

The stories in The Moment come in a wide range of forms from an amazing group of storytellers. The “moments” in this collection are told in written narratives, photographs, comics, illustrations, handwritten letters, and tweets; they come from the personal histories of bestselling authors Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Gregory Maguire; musicians Melissa Etheridge and Judy Collins; 100-year-old journalism legend Ruth Gruber; up-and-coming new voices such as Benjamin Percy, Tao Lin and Saïd Sayrafiezadeh; and many people published for the first time anywhere, who, like all of us, have a life-changing story.

Readings: See some of our favorite Moment storytellers in action at readings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and San Francisco, with more dates to be announced on our event page. At the end of each event, members of the audience are invited to share the first line of their own life-changing moment. and submit a longer story on SMITH Magazine’s ongoing Moment project.

Buy the book. Give The Moment to someone special in your life and then ask the best question in the world: What’s your Moment?

Just a “Moment” With Patti Smith

August 19th, 2011 by Larry Smith

One of the reasons I started a project devoted to personal storytelling is my love of and devotion to reading memoirs of people both famous and obscure. (Most people who’ve found their way here share this passion, and the true memoir obsessive might enjoy my interview with Ben Yagoda, who wrote a book about the history of the memoir.)

I just finished Patti Smith’s Just Kids, a memoir about her first few years in New York that’s part portrait of the artist becoming an artist and part love letter to her best friend and muse, the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. I’m sure in years to come, and in updates to Yagoda’s book, it will become part of the great memoir canon; an example of a book that takes you inside a very specific time in someone’s life with depth and color and what feel like every drop of trueness the author had to give. Others have written much on Just Kids.

At the same time I was reading Patti’s Smith’s memoir of this important moment in her life, I was finishing up a draft of SMITH Magazine’s forthcoming book, The Moment, 125 stories from writers famous and obscure about a watershed moment in each one’s life. Memoirs, by virtue of the form, are full of moments. And given that I’ve been so immersed in moments lately, it’s not surprising that I’m pretty calibrated these days to spot them. So I wanted to share a lovely passage from Just Kids. Here, Patti’s a teenage girl living in South Jersey when her father decided to take her and her three siblings to the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.

Read more »

Moment Mondays: “Cornrows” by Lori Sabian

June 6th, 2011 by Larry Smith

My turn was last. It became clear very quickly my hair did not respond as expected. More vaseline was applied. More rubber bands came out and still it did not obey. We tried our very best to keep my slippery straight hair bound by tiny braids.

Each Monday, we’re featuring a story submitted for consideration in our upcoming book, The Moment, coming out in January 2012 from Harper Perennial. What’s a “moment”? It’s a story, told in words, images, emails or even the occasional poem or tweet (or sometimes a poetic series of tweets), about something large or small, playful or profound, that changed a life.

So many of the Moments we receive take place when the author was quite young. I suppose it’s not surprising that so many of us have turned into the people we are because of our earliest experiences and influences. Still, I’ve been blown away by the intensity and wisdom of these moments. As a new dad, readings stories like “Cornrows” by Lori Sabian (below) reminds me of the most obvious and yet often-forgotten notion there is for a parent: every single moment in a child’s life counts. Read more »

Moment Mondays: A True “Oprah Moment” by Ray Richmond

May 30th, 2011 by Larry Smith

Each Monday, we’re featuring a story submitted for consideration in our upcoming book, The Moment, coming out in January 2012 from Harper Perennial. What’s a “moment”? It’s a story, told in words, images (or both), emails or even a poetic tweet), about something large or small, playful or profound, that changed a life.

With Oprah’s final show in our recent rear-view mirror, I thought I’d share this weird and wonderful piece from Ray Richmond. In his story, Richmond posits that through a series of events, he may have been the reason Queen O jumped into the Obama campaign, and, arguably kicked his campaign into high gear. Could this SMITH writer be unsung hero of our 44th President? Read “‘Hi. It’s Oprah Winfrey” and decide for yourself.

Moment Mondays: “If I Don’t Die Today, I Will Marry Kristin Moore” by Aaron Huey

May 23rd, 2011 by Larry Smith

“The shooting had started three hours ago, and we had no clear exit. In the back seat of our unarmored Ford F250 there was a translator and a Dyncorp medic. I pressed down between them as close to the floor as I could so that they would absorb the bullets.”

Each Monday, we’re featuring a story from our upcoming book, The Moment, coming out in January 2012 from Harper Perennial. What’s a “moment”? It’s a story, told in words, images, emails or even the occasional poem or tweet about something large or small, playful or profound, that changed a life.

The story below and image above is by Aaron Huey, a photojournalist for National Geographic, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, The Smithsonian, and The New York Times. It’s a moment about facing the worst—in his case an ambush by the Taliban, which is pretty much as bad as it gets—and figuring out what, or who, is the best part of your life for the first time. Thankfully, most of us won’t face what Aaron did, but everyone goes through gut checks. Read on for a very big moment. Read more »

Moment Mondays: “Just a Man” by Nadja Cada

May 16th, 2011 by Larry Smith

Each Monday, we’re featuring a story from our upcoming book, The Moment, coming out in January 2012 from Harper Perennial. What’s a “moment”? It’s a story, told in words, images, emails or even the occasional poem or tweet (or sometimes a poetic series of tweets), about something large or small, playful or profound, that changed a life.

The image above and story below comes from Nadja Cada, a student in Ramona Pringle’s Visual Studies course in the New Media department at Ryerson University in Toronto. This second-year class encourages students to explore the nature of narrative in the digital, visual age, and experiment with multi-platform production and non-linear modes of storytelling. This “moment” feels especially relevant in time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and given the topic of SMITH Mag’s May 18 Story Show.

“The Moment was our first assignment of the year, a way of getting to know each other as individuals, artists and storytellers,” says Pringle, who was recently featured in a New York Times story about how virtual connections in gaming culture are fueling real-life connections. “Students were first asked to write a moment and accompany it with an image for print (of any media) and then asked to create a time-based piece (video, animation, etc), based on their moment.” Read more »

 
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