January 12, 2015
On a quiet weekend in the new year I went on Amazon to check out memoirs. I wanted to see what was on the list, be it old, new, naughty, nice, or soon to be released.
I scrolled past The Glass Castle and Liar’s Club, both of which I’ve read.
I was familiar with Brighton Beach Memoirs, a semiautobiographical play, and Memoirs of a Geisha, a historical novel. As neither is a memoir, I moved on.
Wild and American Sniper are both showing on the big screen, so I passed on them, too. Why curl up on the sofa with a book, when you can go out and see a movie?
Making my way to the 296th listing on the 25th page, I came across It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. The title is self-explanatory.
I was not familiar with it or its prequel, Not Quite What I was Planning, by the editors of SMITH magazine, an online site dedicated to storytelling in whatever form it takes. But I was intrigued by the reviews:
“Will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.” (Vanity Fair)
“The brilliance is in the brevity.” (New York Post)
“A perfect distraction and inspiration.” (Denver Post)
“Dude’s weird premise yields interesting stories.” (Ira Glass, NPR’s This American Life)
“Six-word memoirs leave book lover speechless.” (Rocky Mountain News)
And there were the quotes, in this case “memoirs,” from renowned, as well as unknown, authors on the back cover:
“Father: ‘Anything but journalism.’ I rebelled.” —Malcolm Gladwell
“Shiny head. Hippie hair. Shiny head.” —Wally Lamb
“Bipolar, no two ways about it.” —Jason Owen
“I still practice my Oscar speech.” —Jennifer Labbienti
“So would you believe me anyway?” —James Frey
“The miserable childhood leads to royalties.” —Frank McCourt
I always want to inspire fellow personal historians, so I bought a copy. I’ll keep you posted.
© 2015 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved