Things Don't Have To Be Complicated
Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World
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What would you say if you had just six words to define your life? That’s the challenge Larry Smith presented to the online community in 2006. His quest was inspired by a story he'd heard in which a friend of Ernest Hemingway challenged the master to write a novel in just six words. His heartbreaking result: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Giving the form a personal twist, he redubbed the six-word novel idea the “Six-Word Memoir,” challenging contributors to create a half-dozen words of self-reflection. The constraint, it turned out, fueled rather than inhibited creativity: “Sometimes lonely in a crowded bed.” “Long journey but found my home.” “Fifteen years since last professional haircut.” “I still make coffee for two.” Inspired by Six Words’ popularity in English classes and art classes alike, Smith recently called for submissions for illustrated Six-Word Memoirs, in which he asked students, whether in grade school or grad school, to provide a piece of artwork that enhanced their idea. The voices in Things Don't Have to be Complicated were younger, but no less profound. “Said he loved me, he lied.” “Two girls, both of them me.” “Big dreams, big heart, big mouth.” “I’m a Muslim not a terrorist.” “Life is better with headphones on.” This book contains dozens more. At its core, all offer a simple way for anyone of any age to try to answer the question that defines us all: Who am I?