Want to hear people from all over the country call in their life stories in six words? It’s a pretty good way to spend 17 minutes! Just click here.

Shirley Showalter


  1. Alexis Grant on February 5, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Hey Shirley — So glad you visited my blog, because it led me to yours! I love what you're doing here. Such a big part of being able to write memoir is reading work by others.

  2. shirleyhs on February 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Glad this was a useful post, Clif. I love keeping my antennae up for memoir news. This new awareness is a little like I was pregnant and for the first time began noticing how many pregnant women and babies there are in the world! Memoir is all around us–and sometimes the more boiled-down it is, the more profound.

  3. clifh on February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Upon seeing my name in Shirley's response to Alexis (above) I feel compelled to note that I'm pretty sure that Shirley intended for the name Alexis to appear there.Now on to another subject. The following is a comment about a variation on the 6 word memoir idea. Simon & Schuster in one of their promotional emails provided me with the following link to their “My Life in 8 Words” Twitter page.http://twitter.com/mylifein8words?custd=332546Viewers are invited to see if they can recognize their favorite authors from their descriptions of themselves using 8 words or less. Of course it's limited to submittals from authors published by Simon & Schuster.The following are my observations:1. Authors are known for their verbosity so can't be limited to 6 words (as are the rest of us).2. Many of the authors didn't follow the rules and used more than 8 words. (Verbosity strikes again.)3. The only author's name I recognized from my brief search was Philippa Gregory who submitted the following: “Diverse, entertaining, joyful, complex, busy, fulfilled, interesting, loving, integrated”4. A string of adjectives as provided by Gregory does not paint as clear of a picture as the following submitted by Dominic Smith that includes a few nouns (and is limited to 8 words). “A muddle of solitary rooms and crowded cafes.”5. I found myself contemplating the double meaning of this one submitted by Joshua Clark (which exceeds 8 words). “I've never lived inside a word, much less 8 of them.”6. Simon & Schuster is on to some subtle but effective advertising with this page. I now know of several authors with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

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