haikus and memoirs have merged

July 5, 2008

This morning as I drove to work, I heard the voices on the radio discussing an idea from Smith Magazine called the six-word memoir. It’s pretty self explanatory: tell your life in six words. The American haiku. We condense everything else important into as little amount of time as possible, so why not squeeze our life story into six words, right? But there is something to be said for putting restrictions onto how a story is told. The forced careful contemplation of poetry creates something incomparable to daily ramblings. The words become teachers themselves.

I read through some of the six-word memoirs posted on their website (it doesn’t take too long). Some are a little bogus since they are only six words because the creators slash some articles and verbs from a sentence. Others, however, struck me with how much they say. Here are some of the highlights:

Suddenly life was suprisingly, imperfectly beautiful.

Regretted tomorrow’s inaction before it passed.

Started off kosher. Then, discovered bacon.

My rise to fame went unnoticed.

Obvious tip of iceberg. Titanic repercussions

Degree in English. I sell furniture.

Living in the perpetual “almost there.”

“It’s twins,” he said. Oh Crap.

As this is reminiscent of the haiku, another website of interest is Heartbreak Haiku, where the creators encourage people to condense their heartbreaks into 17 syllables and post them rather than bother their friends by endlessly whining about them—or I suppose you could do both.

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