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Writing a six-word memoir... In order to narrow down a life into six words, a writer needs to begin with many words and ideas. Follow these instructions.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing a six-word memoir... In order to narrow down a life into six words, a writer needs to begin with many words and ideas. Follow these instructions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing a six-word memoir... In order to narrow down a life into six words, a writer needs to begin with many words and ideas. Follow these instructions to complete a six-word memoir.

2 Start with a list List as many words, topics, memories, or personality traits as you can about yourself – activities you do, items, belongings, places you like, and feelings you have. Don’t edit, cross out, change, or rewrite words. Don’t worry about spelling – just write. You are going for quantity, so write as much as you can in about three minutes. You should fill at least one full page.

3 Example list: Mother, wife, happy, enthusiastic, camping, colorful, shopping, sea shore, reading, bedtime kisses, teacher, National Geographic, movies, traveler, dancer, laughing, runner, house music, Friday night, early morning runs, history buff, explorer, nagger, sunrises, kids, chocolate, restless, interested….

4 Now, circle the two or three words that stand out for you, the ones that you could say more about.

5 Example list: Mother, wife, happy, enthusiastic, camping, colorful, shopping, sea shore, reading, bedtime kisses, teacher, National Geographic, movies, traveler, dancer, laughing, runner, house music, Friday night, early morning runs, history buff, explorer, nagger, sunrises, kids, chocolate, restless, interested….

6 a 6-word memoir… Synonyms of topic words Mother- mom, maternal figure, mama Explorer- voyager, traveler, pioneer Restless- edgy, impatient, on edge National Geographic- magazine, explorer, adventurer Happy- cheerful, enthusiastic, joyful, content

7 Pick your items and freewrite about the thought. That means you just start writing about that idea, object, role, or event. The only rule is don’t stop writing for at least two or three minutes. Whatever comes to mind is fair game. National Geographic, mother, wife, restless, explorer, traveler, happy

8 I have always wanted to be world traveler, someone who takes photographs in every port and has them in National Geographic. Remember the photographer in “The Secret Life of …” That is who I wanted to be. But I realize that these ideas and dreams begin to reach a new ideal when I actually have to put in the work to do it. And I realized, I was too scared to do these things. Ultimately, I wanted to be a mom, create a garden, stay in nice hotels and visit art museums. I didn’t want to be that uncomfortable so I chose the easier but still fulfilling path of a degree in Geography and History. Now I got to study it but maybe not live it. Is it wrong for me to be happy living in Vancouver, teaching great kids, and being warm and dry in my classroom? Freewrite example…

9 Synthesize As a result of the freewrite, you have a sense of your topic. Synthesize, combine the individual elements into an understandable whole, your writing into a phrase that captures the essence of what your topic means to you. It seems that after the free write, I was focusing on my “mid-life crisis” of not doing what I wanted to do when I was younger. Regret? Or contentment?

10 Brainstorm many options, playing with word order and synonyms Restless mother is finding contentment at home Explorer ideals gone in face of danger National Geographic photographer when I retire Chose comfort and motherhood over exploring. Old me: explorer. Older me: mother.

11 Six-word memoirs... Best Wordplay: “Meditation: Personal search engine via inner-net.” -trust2020 Funniest: “15,000 days spent considering a bellybutton.” -Anstey Most Sensory: “Hardwired for coupling. Short-circuited being single.” -TawnyPort Most Circular: “Dad’s baby now changing Dad’s diapers.” -eileenpat Best Metaphor: “Mouth to mouth couldn’t resuscitate marriage.” -Laconic from Six Words on Love & Heartbreak Most Self-Aware: “Won’t let magazines shape my body.” -songwriter Bonus #7—Celebrity Six-Worder of the Week: “Not funny. Funny. Not funny. Funny?” - Jimmy Fallon. ”Wishing sadness and geometry made sense.” - Grounded Clouds

12 Now create a final six-memoir by using these steps: 1.Create a “you” list – fill the page. 2.Pick 2 – 3 items that inspire you to say more. 3.From those items you circled, select one. 4.Freewrite about your idea for several minutes/a full page or two. 5.Develop a 6-word phrase that captures a sense of your writing. 6.Self-Edit: Make at least one type of change--word choice, varying sentences, or punctuation. 7.2nd Draft: Conference with another student or parent. 8.Create your 6-word memoir final draft! 9.Go back to your freewrite. Produced an effective 5-step paragraph that offers an engaging lead, clarifies, elaborates, offers at least two specific, detailed examples, and concludes in an effort to capture the memoir’s meaning from the freewrite. 10.Final effort: Create a PowerPoint slide or drawing/photo with the six-word memoir so you have a background picture(s). Print your results. your slide to me for extra credit.

13 Now, go back to the freewrite… Re-craft the freewrite into an effective 5-step paragraph that offers an engaging lead, clarifies, elaborates, offers at least two specific, detailed examples, and concludes in an effort to capture the memoir’s meaning.

14 Create a “poster” using the paper provided. Put your six word memoir in bold, large writing. Add photos, images, drawings

15 Six-memoir example with a paragraph: Inner cowboy adrift on literate shores. My rural, Cracker-cowboy, Florida childhood took a detour when my parents were divorced, and I spent my teenage years on the beaches of Florida's west coast. My passion for reading led me in and out of college and along twisted paths and hallways of educational institutions. A variety of teaching positions on several levels actually enhanced my appreciation of well-written literature. Teaching Shakespeare, Frost, Poe, and Macdonald have offered stimulating journeys that invigorate the mind. My explorations continue when youthful intellects engage and share the adventures.

16 Inner cowboy adrift on literate shores

17 Six-memoir example with a paragraph: Seeking home, balance outside a turbulent world Being adopted as a child gave me a different perspective on what it means to feel at home. I discovered early on that biology has nothing to do with belonging or not belonging. I have constantly sought a sense of balance throughout my life, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Balance can be found in a piece of literature or music that helps make sense of the world, often in interactions with family and friends. At other times this sense has been present in the give and take of a relationship or assisting others in need. In a most basic form, a sense of balance can be present amid silence, the simplicity of waves crashing on a shoreline, or a breathtaking sunrise away from the chaos of the world. I have discovered that balance and the feeling of home can be both internal and external and often is present in the unlikeliest of places.

18 Seeking home, balance outside a turbulent world


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