Not Quite What I Was Planning, Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

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9780061713712: Not Quite What I Was Planning, Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, Not Quite What I Was Planning is a thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.

When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way, too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving.

From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-size pieces.

The original edition of Not Quite What I Was Planning spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and thanks to massive media attention—from NPR to the The New Yorker—the six-word memoir concept spread to classrooms, dinner tables, churches, synagogues, and tens of thousands of blogs. This deluxe edition has been revised and expanded to include more than sixty never-before-seen memoirs.

From authors Elizabeth Gilbert, Richard Ford, and Joyce Carol Oates to celebrities Stephen Colbert, Mario Batali, and Joan Rivers to ordinary folks around the world, everyone has a six-word story to tell.

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About the Author:

LARRY SMITH is an adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and a recipient of the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award. During his longstanding tenure, Smith has taught and counselled more than 23,000 students on the subject of their careers, representing more than 10 percent of UW’s alumni. Smith has worked with more than 500 teams of student entrepreneurs, advising them as they have created companies of significant size and success across industries as broad-reaching as communications, software, robotics, entertainment, design and real estate. Smith is also president of Essential Economics Corporation, an economic consulting practice that serves a wide range of public and private clients. “Why You Will Fail to have a Great Career,” his TEDx Talk based on his experience counselling students, has been viewed by over six million people.



Rachel Fershleiser is SMITH's memoir editor and has written for the Village Voice, the New York Press, Print, and the National Post. Rachel lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Can you describe your life in six words? That's what the editors of storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers in 2006; the results, though decidedly uneven, make for compulsive reading and prove arguably as insightful as any 300+ page biography. Taken as a whole, this cascade of quotes from contributors famous and unknown creates a dizzying snowball effect of perspectives and feelings. Highlights from professional writers and artists include journalist Chuck Klosterman wondering, "Nobody cared, then they did. Why?"; pop singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger lamenting, "We still don't hear a single"; and comic strip artist Keith Knight illustrating "I was a Michael Jackson impersonator." At their best, these nano-memoirs evoke the same kind of rich emotional responses as a good story: 9 year old Hannah Davies considers herself "Cursed with cancer. Blessed by friends"; Zak Nelson says "I still make coffee for two"; Scott Birch claims "Most successful accomplishments based on spite." Some entries read like bumper stickers (Rip Riley: "No wife. No kids. No problems"), and others are just plain weird (Amy Sedaris: "Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched"), but this compelling little book will have readers and their friends hunting for favorites and inventing six-word self-definitions of their own. This review in six words? Read. Enjoy. Pass it on. Repeat.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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