Sunday, April 20, 2008

Six Words

Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes tagged me for a meme to write a six word memoir.

I had to give this some thought. Any one who has read my work knows I can be wordy at times. I have it down to an art. Six words seemed nigh impossible.

After turning it around in my brain, I likened this exercise to writing my epitaph for my tombstone.

I finally came up with this:

Uses words to better the world.

Explaining it takes away the point, I suppose, but explain I shall do anyway.

When I write for the newspaper I see it as an educational endeavor, mostly. I hope that readers take away *something* from what I write. Maybe it's knowledge about the local government's shenanigans. Maybe folks take away a chuckle or a smile from a column. Maybe someone has an idea so far removed from what I might think about that I would be surprised.

Maybe what I write will be moving and/or informative enough to spur someone to action, if that action is only a letter to the editor. When that happens, I feel honored to have been able to have helped.

Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes there are letters about the things of which I write. Occasionally the letters are critical of me, as if I, the messenger, in someway did something wrong by making note of an event. (Those can be hard.)

In January I learned from a non-profit that an article I wrote had a good benefit. They attributed to my work the sum of $17,000 in donations for their fuel assistance program. I had written an article about their low funds and how many people couldn't afford the higher cost of oil during the winter.

It made my heart swell with joy to learn that I had been so honored - honored to be allowed to write something that touched so many. I actually came home and cried about it.

This is what I always hope to do. I hope to make a difference. And that's what those six words mean.

I tag Becky at Peevish Pen, my friend at Roanoke RnR and Jeff, who hasn't been writing enough lately though I understand why, for this meme, along with anyone else who cares to take it on.

And multiple thanks to Colleen for giving me something to think about today!


  1. I like it...and agree with your assessment!

  2. I think your six-word memoir is perfect. How lovely that you use your gift in such a positive way! I can imagine how thrilling and moving it must have been to know that you played a part in keeping folks warm for the winter. Wonderful!

  3. Oh, wow, you're going to make me get back in the game by actually thinking about something? Well, I needed a jump start, anyway. Stay tuned.

    I like your memoir!

  4. You summed it up! Also, I have been working on a draft that says something very similiar to what you say here. It's about finding the thread of a story that I want to illuminate, the one that isn't always obvious, the one that shows our humanity. Maybe I'll finish it sometime. I think we're on the same wavelength.

  5. Thank you all - Jeff, I am sorry to have made you think particularly at this trying time in your life. Colleen - I will be very intersted in reading that essay!

  6. Inspirational and most true.
    When I get my mind back, I'll come up with something for me, I hope.

  7. I think your memoir is perfect. It made me really think about what I would want mine to be.
    It's fantastic that you made such a difference with your writing! I never really understood what it is like for a writer to put themselves out there and hope they made an impact.

  8. OK, I actually did this one:

    Veni, vidi, scribi.

    There! (The translation is on my blog today)

  9. Oh, fantastic 6 words. Well put.


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