For All My Hatred of Prompts….

…I still collect them, like some people collect butterflies and beetles.
Last summer, I read this smallish book with the title of “I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets,” an anthology of six-word memoirs written by teenagers. The inspiration for this and similar books came from, reportedly, Hemingway’s famed response to writing a story with only six words: For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.
You can find the first few pages here:

Teenagers were encouraged to submit entries surmising the most important part of their high school experience in six words.

I wrote down fifty-some of them, thinking they’d make great short stories someday.

I tried writing one, accidentally, from the memoir “Hair’s Pink to Piss You Off.” It’s one of the few half-written pieces I intend to return to and finish someday.

Anyway, some food for though (om nom nom nom nom), a few that, I think, could make fascinating, heartbreaking stories. If you’d like, feel free to comment with a few you’d most be interested in hearing… or, better yet, take one yourself? (……..I think I just optionally-assigned a prompt. *shudder*)

1. I seriously love school bean burritos.

2. They screamed “nobody.” I believed them.

3. Living my dreams; please send money.

4. Spent more time reading than living.

5. I will be that cat lady.

6. You still smell like my childhood.

7. Eccentricity is not an exact science.

8. Not enough room in the margins.

9. I hate your one-word replies.

10. Perfectionist poets don’t make good money.

11. The keys I have don’t fit.

12. Defined by numbers: age, weight, SATs.

13. Natural blonde dyed black. Values intact.

14. Planted a tree and studied magic.

15. Honor Roll. No friends. “Bright future.”

16. Making paper cranes, need the luck.

17. Shepherd’s daughter. Hip-hop dancer. Wanna-be assassin.

18. People survive hurricanes; Gustav’s not different.

19. Slowly becoming everything I hate.

20. Girls like giant fighting robots, too.

21. Always forgetting to bring an umbrella.

22. Sleeping through my alarm clock saved me.

23. My words in purple print? Priceless.

24. My name’s my mom’s backwards.

25. The fireworks were gone by then.

26. Been kissed once. High school dare.

27. We are banned form Walmart forever.

28. He said bye with youtube links.

29. I pretended to be a vegetarian.

30. Replaced Prince Charming with someone real.

31. I was named after a store.

32. I miss your Swedish fish kisses.

33. I almost blew up a microwave.

34. Holden caught me in the rye.

35. All year prefect. One day rebel.

36. Read the thesaurus on the toilet.

37. We’re the family you gossip about.

38. Called Walrus. Should probably feel insulted.

39. I made captain, then some enemies.

40. Smoke detectors taught me how to cook.

41. Never felt beautiful without piercings.

42. Prefer Indiana Jones to Mr. Darcy

43. 17. 7 men. 10 months. Slut.

44. Granda died: nothing. Character dies: sobbing.

45. Can I be fourteen forever, please?

46. Use make-up; it covers the bruises.

47. Not used to smiles. Prefer smileys.

48. Drawing blanks, shooting blanks, filling blanks.

49. He’s twenty, twice jailed, and perfect.

50. Life was complete. Then thunder struck.

51. Always the friend, never the girl.

52. He left. Mom cried. Roller-coaster ride.

53. Couldn’t say it, so I sang.

54. Cold pop-tart; messy hair; running late.

55. Premature midlife crisis at age seventeen.


I…… have no idea what my six-word memoir would be. But I’ll be thinking.


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