Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
  • Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
  • Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

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by Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser
     
 

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Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.

One Life. Six Words. What's Yours?

When Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine

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Overview

Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.

One Life. Six Words. What's Yours?

When Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.

From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-sized pieces. From authors Jonathan Lethem and Richard Ford to comedians Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris, to ordinary folks around the world, everyone has a six-word story to tell.

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Editorial Reviews

Blackbook
“These tiny windows into people’s lives are at once addictive and illuminating, challenging and accessible.”
O magazine
“The pithiest of life stories.”
Denver Post
“A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared.”
Chicago Tribune
“Irresistibly clever.”
Style.com
“In six words: Gimmicks should always be this fun.”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“A fabulously appealing exercise both for writers and for readers.”
Toronto Star
“Smith seems to have struck a chord in the current zeitgeist, unleashing a torrent of self-expression not unlike the one launched by Frank Warren when he began inviting people to write their secrets on the back of postcards.”
Philadelphia Magazine
“Six-word review: Buy it, keep it in bathroom.”
New York Post
“The brilliance is in the brevity.”
The New Yorker
“You could spend a lifetime brainstorming.”
Vanity Fair
“Perfect for the American attention span...Will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.”
O Magazine
"The pithiest of life stories."
School Library Journal

Adult/High School- The editors of SMITH magazine invited readers to contribute brief life stories in the vein of Hemingway's bravura tale, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." The hundreds selected for publication include offerings from children and adults, professional writers, bereaved parents, recovering broken hearts, and people with great pride in showing off their wit. Teens will recognize some of the "memoirists," including Janet Tashjian, author of The Gospel According to Larry (Holt, 2001), Ned Vizzini of It's Kind of a Funny Story (Hyperion/Miramax, 2006), and Deepak Chopra. The six words by the latter are followed by a handsome pun penned by his son: "Soul'd out so I could prophet." Some entries include cartoons, self-portraits taken with a camera, or other artwork. The index allows access by topic, some of which are adoption (two entries), coffee (five entries), and love (28 entries). A good combination of inspired, inspiring, and entertaining, this title is eminently browsable and shareable. It's a fine book to offer reluctant readers as well as teens who are interested in creative writing.-Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061374050
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/05/2008
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
153,727
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Not Quite What I Was Planning, Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition
Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Chapter One

After Harvard, had baby with crackhead.
—Robin Templeton

Seventy years, few tears, hairy ears.
—Bill Querengesser

Watching quietly from every door frame.
—Nicole Resseguie

Catholic school backfired. Sin is in!
—Nikki Beland

Savior complex makes for many disappointments.
—Alanna Schubach

Nobody cared, then they did. Why?
—Chuck Klosterman

Some cross-eyed kid, forgotten then found.
—Diana Welch

She said she was negative. Damn.
—Ryan McRae

Born in the desert, still thirsty.
—Georgene Nunn

A sake mom, not soccer mom.
—Shawna Hausman

I asked. They answered. I wrote.
—Sebastian Junger

No future, no past. Not lost.
—Matt Brensilver

Extremely responsible, secretly longed for spontaneity.
—Sabra Jennings

Joined Army. Came out. Got booted.
—Johan Baumeister

Not Quite What I Was Planning, Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition
Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure
. Copyright © by Larry Smith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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