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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On Six-Word Memoirs, In Print

The View from Brooklyn
Photo by myself from the Pulaski Bridge, which spans between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Long Island City. You can see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in the distance.

From this vantage point, Manhattan looks really, really close. Notice the new towers along the Long Island City coast (several orange towers and the one in mid-construction). This area is rumored to become the next Battery Park City, situated near the water. It's only one stop along the 7 train to the Grand Central station on 42nd Street.


There was an interesting blurb in last week's New Yorker Talk of the Town section on really, really short memoirs. I mean short, as in six words.

Apparently, an online magazine called Smith held a contest for submissions - describe your life in a pithy six-word phrase. The contest was a success, harvesting more than 500 submissions daily.

There was 'Fix a Toilet, Get Paid Crap,' by a plumber. And there was 'Divorced! Thank God for Internet personals.' There was a book culled from the best submissions, entitled 'Not Quite What I Was Planning', and a book party to promote the book.

Cute idea. I guess I'd be 'New York Lover, Snap-Happy Architect'. Or 'Often in Lotus Position, Riding Shotgun', in reference to my journeys with Mark and his car Clive, a Mini Cooper. Or perhaps my life would be 'Single Female with Cats No Longer', or how about 'Addicted Blogger. Takes Photos. Posts Daily'.

I notice these days that we've become horribly impatient people. For instance, has anyone watched Wheel of Fortune lately? I hadn't seen it in forever, until the other day. The format of Wheel is changed to add more variety to the game, in case you can't tolerate the old 'spin-and-choose-letters-one-at-a-time-to-solve-the-phrase' formula. Now you first guess the phrase as the letters are randomly revealed, for a few warm up rounds before the regular games start.

I don't know why I take the Wheel of Fortune game format to mean the end of patience in our culture, but I do. We want everything quickly. We want everything now. Pronto.

And so it was a refreshing change of pace to walk across the Pulaski Bridge yesterday, hand in hand. Getting from here to there wasn't just about jumping in the car and roaring over. Instead we took one step at a time. We enjoyed the journey and took some photos along the way.

'Brooklynites Unite. Take Time. Smell Roses.'

Post your pithy memoir!


Ha Ha Sound said...

I've noticed myself becoming more impatient over time, but I just assumed that was me getting older and more crotchety. I do, however, notice how much I calm down about everything once I'm out of the city. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be often enough.

Ackworth Born said...

-- taking pictures of other people's lives ---

Kitty said...

hallo, Ha Ha!
I hear you. The City changes a person. It helps so to get out of it now and again.

Welcome Ackworth! (Another Daily Photo blogger)
Love your Hyde Daily Photo blog!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I love the idea of the 6word memoirs, I shall check out the book next time I am in a bookstore.

I think I'm naturally impatient, even being out of the city drives me mad after a short while. I get impatient about the lack of things to do :-)

Ineke said...

Great photo and ditto contest ;)

Ruvym said...

I read about this too, although I forget where. It's based on a legend that Hemingway once wrote a novel that had six words - "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." I actually think that's kind of awesome. The secret to the six-word memoir is to offer clues but not to reveal too much, keep people guessing, don't show your hand, etc. Maybe mine would be:

Searches but never finds. One day.

It kind of reminds me of haikus, but not.

Tammy said...

Hmmmm...six words for me.....Mom blogger addicted to coffee...wait that's only five. LOL!

Kitty said...

Hi Fish
People have funny reactions when out of the city.

Sometimes I chill out when out of the city and the mere chilling out makes me more tense. I feel like I'm losing my 'edge'. Good lord.

Welcome Ineke!
Your photos are lovely. Mark and I would love to visit Rotterdam someday.

Hi Ruvym!
Like a dope, I forgot to mention the most famous pithy memoir of all.

I like your memoir!

Hi Tammy
you're too cute!

Carrie Smith said...

Stopping by to say hi!

Ming the Merciless said...

Cool concept!

I'm still thinking of 6 words to describe my life.

Kitty said...

Hi Carrie! Nice seeing you!

Hey Ming!
yeah, it's a scary concept to condense one's life into six words