Good things, when short, are twice as good

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I spent last weekend having my brain re-wired. Since March, I’ve been enrolled in the Institute of Communications Agencies‘ Executive CAAP West Program. It’s for people who want to pursue or continue careers in communications and advertising, and so far it’s been a wild and rewarding ride.

This past weekend, we finished the first of two terms — ending with a session on brainstorming, ideation, and big ideas. The whole weekend was facilitated by Leslie Ehm. Leslie’s worked in the ad industry as a copywriter and creative director. Now, she works with organizations to teach them some of the things she showed us tonight, and presentation skills on top of that.

One of the key takeaways from this weekend — and every weekend of CAAP thus far — has been about communicating ideas simply. To illuminate the power of simplicity and the economy of words, Leslie had us run through an exercise where we had to write our 6-word memoir. It’s something that Ernest Hemingway first did, with these words:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

SMITH Magazine has a website dedicated to these memoirs, and several books of 6-word memoirs have been published.

We did the same thing in class last weekend. Each of us had to write a 6-word memoir — exactly 6 words. This was mine:

Get out of my own way.

Brevity and word selection is everything. “Get” instead of “Got” or “Getting.”

I know posting about this is about the least original thing on earth, since SMITH’s been at it for awhile now. But I wanted to see what Unknown Studio listeners and readers would come up with.

So that’s my challenge to you: share your 6-word memoir in the comments section. Let’s see how creative everyone can be!

Photo by higginskurt on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

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37 Responses to “Good things, when short, are twice as good”

  1. Trent Wilkie
    May 30, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    We play this game just once.

  2. Erin Hazen
    May 30, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    GO! GO! GO! Pause. Breathe. REPEAT!

  3. Megan
    May 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Live well, laugh well, love well.

  4. Adam Rozenhart
    May 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    I had a couple of these come through on Twitter and I wanted to capture them:

    @livelikeburning said: “Our life is a consuming fire”

    @pcrtomgillespie said: “Well, so far, so..oh crap!!!”

    Keep ’em coming!

  5. Leask
    May 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    He died as he lived: yiffing.

    • Adam Rozenhart
      May 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      I’m assuming this is about you, James, even though it speaks in the third person.

  6. Adam Rozenhart
    May 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Two more from Tweeters:

    @BeckaSwan: “I can’t believe I did that.”

    @PiggtailGirl: “I hate all of you people.”

  7. Brittney Le Blanc
    May 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I actually did this on Six Words. It hasn’t changed.

    “Living the dream, please send money.”

  8. Jason Lee Norman
    May 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Things I Found in my Beard.

  9. Dean Smith
    May 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Bear with it, it’s worth it.

  10. Brent
    May 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Making mistakes, correcting, smiling, moving on.

  11. Ryan
    May 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    So… What’s next?

    • Adam Rozenhart
      May 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Party foul, Ryan! You need to use exactly six words (although I didn’t indicate that in the challenge line, I do mention it some way up the post).

      Try using all six!

  12. Hourash Falati
    May 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    happiness is the absence of wit

  13. Jen Banks
    May 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    See things in a positive light.

  14. Jessica Holt
    May 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Cynicism is the death of activism.

  15. Erin Luijkx
    May 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    My mistakes, my triumphs, my life!

  16. Sid
    May 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Relax. There is still time left.

  17. Karen Unland
    May 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Try hard. Good enough? Not yet.

  18. Jeffrey Nachtigall
    May 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    Sought wisdom, distracted by clever things.

  19. Adam Rozenhart
    May 31, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Just because I want to keep them all in one place, here are a bunch from pals on Facebook:

    Natasha C: “Two little lives, changed one, forevermore.”

    Chris B: “Finished the race on his terms.” AND “Wanted to be Immortal, Died Trying.”

    Joel C: “Grew a moustache, never looked back.”

    Roman K: “Did enough for four, hit bar.”

    Kyle J: “Constantly shaving, but never the head.”

    Matt S: “Accomplished living ’til moment of death.”

    Karyn H: “Pleased to please and be pleased.”

  20. Pamella
    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Loved many times and found one.

  21. Jay Runham
    May 31, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    El Caballero de la Noche Asciende!

  22. Scott C Bourgeois
    May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Don’t go anywhere – there’s still pie!

  23. Premee
    May 31, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    “Would rather be entertained than loved.”

  24. Albert Johnson
    May 31, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Relax, I plan on living forever.

  25. Jeffrey Chapman
    May 31, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    “With The First Pick, Edmonton Selects…”

  26. Vanessa Cordery
    May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Quiet please, I’m not finished yet.

  27. lizzy
    May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Making every mistake possible before succeeding

  28. Rachel Lindley
    May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Large dyke falls down, goes boom.

  29. Laura
    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    She really did not like bugs

  30. Marsha
    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Still trying to figure it out.

  31. Marilyn
    June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    There’s so much still to see!

  32. Suzy
    June 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Common ground is my happy place.

  33. Leslie Ehm
    June 6, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Had to comment on how gorgeous these all are. Isn’t it amazing what can happen when we sift thru the bullshit in order to identify what really resonates as our story? Freakin’ poetry!! Remember this when you’re next trying to communicate something big, loud or important.

    For the record – mine currently is “People – this is not a rehearsal!”

  34. Giles Shingler
    June 16, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Dreams in dying go to heaven

  35. Giles Shingler
    June 16, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Every clawed has a froideur lining