Friday, February 12, 2010

The Seventh Word

"Write: coffee wants to become words."
That's as far as I can get without risk of offending someone. This is why I feel that the six-word memoir is such a brilliant conceit; it's about as far as most people can get before they have to start calling loved-ones to make apologies or warn them not to read tomorrow's paper.

Actually, come to think of it, my first six-word memoir was the title for this blog.

Through the years, I've contemplated venturing into the memoir territory but never have.  In part, this is because beyond the sixth word, you're into the thicket of family history, and while my story is my story, at some point you come to the base of a cliff upon which is scrawled "Write as thought everyone you know is dead."  Not everyone can or will follow you up that wall.  When you start revealing that much about yourself, not only are you going to be displaying more of your inner world than your family (or anyone else) normally sees, you're also going to be telling stories for other people.

Each of us is the nexus of any number of overlapping stories and any attempt at writing out memories is a reflection on those tales as much as our own and at some point we're capturing other people's memories as well as our own.

So, what is your Six Word Memoir? And how far beyond six words do you think you'd get before you found yourself on the phone with your family and friends?

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).