Monday, April 4, 2011

Six Word Memoirs

Border's is going out of business. At least in Philadelphia. The big store at the corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets has big signs filling all the windows to the effect that everything must go, everything's on sale, no exceptions, 10, 20...up to 40% off! I couldn't resist.

My initial purchases included the big paperback edition of "Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time" by Ken Bloom and Frank Vlastnik who are clearly a couple of really big Broadway, shall we say, afficionados. Really big. But the book is terrific, chock-full, as they say, of information, history, background on composers, performers, designers, et al. There are also sections on Broadway flops and the people who starred in them.

My other purchase, in addition to a DVD ("Cross Creek" starring Mary Steenburgen, about which more later), was a little paperback called "It All Changed in an Instant: More Six Word Memoirs". These were collected by the editors of Smith Magazine from people well-known and not so much, all of whom have managed to sum up their lives in exactly six words. Some examples:

"The miserable childhood leads to royalties." --Frank McCourt

"The Fruit Loop among the Cheerios." --Gabrielle Povolotsky

"Changed sexes: same monkeys, different barrel." --Jennifer Boylan

"I fake everything except the orgasms." --Tammy Everts

"Found myself but lost my hair." --David Thorpe

It's amazing to me how full and rich so many of these are. And they're not all funny or cute. Some are genuinely heartbreaking ("Tiny son dying in my arms.")

I haven't come up with mine yet: there's something percolating, but it hasn't gelled. When it does (and God knows there may be a few) I'll let you know. Meanwhile, the closest thing I've seen to what might be mine is "The main thing is I laughed."

Meantime, give it some thought and post yours in the Comments section. I'd love to know how some of you would sum it all up in six words.

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