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It Is Amazing What People Can Say in Six Words

'Four years and more than 200,000 six-word memoirs later, we continue to be blown away by what people are capable of saying in just six words.'

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Larry was elated, then realized: it's only five words! A note was emailed back, hoping he'd respond, yet freaking out in case that one email was going to be all we got from Frank. He wrote back right away:

I thought I'd get away with it. ("Brevity is the soul of wit," said that English bard.) So... "The miserable childhood..."

Sometimes, there's even God. In an op-ed column in a paper in a small town in northern Ontario, Rev. Dr. Bill Steadman suggested the faithful distill their beliefs by using the form to ask themselves "What Would Jesus Do? ...if asked to write a six-word memoir." Priests and rabbis alike have suggested their congregations try six-word prayers. "While there is no 'right' way to pray," explained Rev. D. Geoffrey Taylor in a sermon he sent us, "sometimes trying a new way to voice our prayers to God can be a good way to help us focus on what it is we really want from God. So here goes: Write down your own six-word prayers."

And when you have the six bug like we do, you can hear six-word stories, phrases, and memoirs across a crowded room, or even see them across the street.

With each submission to SMITH or SMITHteens, and each way a new person reinvents the form, our collective six-word memoir story grows bigger, deeper and richer.

Books are wonderful, and you should definitely buy them all, but books are just a beginning. For us, the magic happens when you put down our latest Six-Word Memoir book, It All Changed in an Instant, and are inspired to call your mother, text a friend, or even pick up a pen and start writing.

Larry Smith is the articles editor of Men's Journal and has written for the New York Times, Teen People, ESPN magazine and other publications.

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