A picture is worth a thousand words, so goes the old idiom. However, a memoir may be told in six.
In 2006, Larry Smith, founder of the storytelling SMITH Magazine, challenged his community to write their life stories in exactly six words, and a global phenomenon was started. Associate Professor of English Cherie Parsons brought the trend to Malone University in the form of a student-curated exhibit in the Everett Cattell Library.
Parsons and students in her class, ENG 315 Style & Usage, along with other campus participants, wrote their own memoirs, and all community members are invited to add their submission to the display.
Fontinella will always be Papa's cheese was the line junior Vincent Leone wrote in honor of his grandfather.
"We always had lunch together on Sunday afternoons, and every meal always started with cheese and crackers," Leone said. "My grandfather was a very important person in my life, and I associate this with his passing onto me all of his wisdom."
"It was interesting putting my whole life into a quick, short soundbite," added junior Joanna Talley, who submitted her memoir anonymously.
"I have my students introduce themselves to me and each other with this exercise every semester, and this year this class did such a great job with it that I thought we should expand it," said Parsons. "This exercise allows us to tell one of our many stories in a way that involves precision. It's fun capping English majors to just six words."
Other examples from around campus include:
Was lonely, found cat, snuggled it. - Sophomore Catherine Martinez
Feminist and faithful. Yes, I'm both. - Parsons
Prone to wander trails, But God... - Jason Courter
I found wings in the dust. - Linda Leon
Born premature, raised broken, resurrected hope. - TC Ham
"The exhibit is one way to show Malone values your story," Parsons said. "There's something powerful in sharing your story, as well controlling which story you tell about yourself."