James Frey’s best work?


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Smith Magazine’s six-word memoirs have been lodged in the literary firmament since the 2008 release of ‘Not Quite What I Was Planning,’ a pocket-sized collection that became a bestseller. The idea of a story in six words was inspired by an Ernest Hemingway legend -- he is said to have won a bet about writing a short story in just six words with ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

The online magazine makes it easy to draft your own. And these days, six words often fit into 140 characters -- the six-word memoirs are perfectly suited to the Twitter generation.


The latest book in the six-word memoir series, ‘It All Changed in an Instant,’ is out now. It contains hundreds of micro-mini memoirs from people unknown and known. Smith got several people you’ve heard of -- including Junot Diaz, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Silverman, Art Spiegelman, Molly Ringwald, Margaret Cho, and Tony Hawk -- to give it a go.

Of those that appear in the promo video above, James Frey’s stands out. His memoir ‘A Million Little Pieces’ turned out to include outright falsehoods, and he was publicly admonished for his truth-stretching by no less than Oprah. For his six-word memoir, Frey writes: ‘So would you believe me anyway?’

-- Carolyn Kellogg