The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs
“The world has never felt smaller.”
By Larry Smith
Mr. Smith is the creator of Six Word Memoirs.
Since 2006, I’ve been challenging people to describe their lives in six words, a form I call the six-word memoir — a personal twist on the legendary six-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
I’ve found that some of the most memorable six-word stories arise in the extremes — during our toughest and most joyous moments. So over the past several months, I’ve asked adults and children around the country to use the form to make sense of this moment in history: one person, one story, and six words at a time.
Not a criminal, but running masked.
— Stella Kleinman
Every day’s a bad hair day.
— Leigh Giza
Home ec: rationing butter, bourbon, sanity.
— Christine Triano
Can’t smell the campfire on Zoom.
— Melanie Abrams
Deserted crowded Manhattan, my own island …
— Elisa Shevitz
Eighth hour of YouTube. Send Help!
— Leela Chandra
Messy hair, messy room, messy thoughts.
— Lily Herman
I regret saying, “I hate school.”
— Riana Heffron
Read every book in the house.
— Francesca Gomez-Novy
Never-ending, but boredom doesn’t faze me.
— Lily Gold
Required school supplies: screens, screens, screens.
— Darshana Chandra
Won scrabble; smile breaks through mask.
— Abby Ellin
Tuning out parents, under my headphones.
— Lukas Smith
This is what time looks like.
— Sylvia Sichel
Bad time for an open marriage.
— Rachel Lehmann-Haupt
Sun-kissed lips? Not kissed this year.
— Twanna Hines
Avoiding death, but certainly not living.
— Sydney Reimann
Social distancing myself from the fridge.
— Maria Leopoldo
Dream of: heat, limbs, crowds, concerts.
— Amy Turn Sharp
Teacher finding inspiration through uneasy times.
— April Goodman
Slowly turning into a technological potato.
— Jad Ammar
Cleaned Lysol container with Lysol wipe.
— Alex Wasser
Hallway hike, bathtub swim, Pandora concert.
— Susan Evind
Numbers rise, but sun does too.
— Paloma Lenz
Afraid of: snakes, heights, opening schools.
— Michelle Wolff
The world has never felt smaller.
— Maggie Smith
How do you make sense of this moment in history?
Share your own six-word memoir in the comments. We’ll feature some of our favorites in a future article.