It All Changed in an Instant

More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

By Larry Smith; Rachel Fershleiser
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061719431, 272pp.)

Publication Date: January 2010

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Description

Thousands of people around the world responded to SMITH Magazine's call for six-word memoirs. Following up on the smashing success of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning, here are more memoirs from Sarah Silverman, Junot Diaz, Neil Patrick Harris, Suze Orman, Gay Talese, Tony Hawk, Amy Tan—and hundreds of never-before-published writers.

Funny and bittersweet, witty and wild, or downright tragic, these addictive life stories are both monumental and miniscule. Six-word memoirs have become a global phenomenon, offering anyone and everyone a telling peek at humanity and a chance to find the writer within.

"Father: ‘Anything but journalism.' I rebelled." —Malcolm Gladwell

"Live man's life in woman's body!" —Diane von Furstenberg

"Met wife at her bachelorette party." —Eddie Matz

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

"I never checked my lottery ticket." —Casey Burra

"Shiny head. Hippie hair. Shiny head." —Wally Lamb

"Bipolar, no two ways about it." —Jason Owen

"So would you believe me anyway?" —James Frey

"Can't look at heart donor's picture." —Tonia Hall

"Healed with steel, then got real." —Dr. Mehmet Oz

"I still practice my Oscar speech." —Jennifer Labbienti

"I've done it all except hear." —Marlee Matlin




About the Author

SMITH Magazine founding editor Larry Smith has worked as an editor at Men's Journal, ESPN: The Magazine, and Might. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Popular Science, on Salon.com, and many other places. Larry lives in New York City




NPR
Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010

Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn." In this spirit, Smith Magazine invited writers "famous and obscure" to distill their own life stories into a single sentence. It All Changed in an Instant is the fourth collection of six-word memoirs from the magazine. More at NPR.org

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Praise For It All Changed in an Instant

“Will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.”
-Vanity Fair

“The brilliance is in the brevity.”
-New York Post

“A perfect distraction and inspiration.”
-Denver Post

“Irresistibly clever.”
-Chicago Tribune

“American haiku.”
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“You could spend a lifetime brainstorming.”
-The New Yorker

“The pithiest of life stories.”
-O, The Oprah Magazine

“Makes 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.”
-Publishers Weekly

“A torrent of self-expression not unlike the one launched by Frank Warren when he began inviting people to write their secrets on the back of postcards.”
-Toronto Star

“The petite self-portraits encompass love and love, joy and sorrow-everything you’d expect from a longer book.”
-ReadyMade Magazine

“A fabulously appealing exercise both for writers and for readers.”
-Telegraph

“A good number conjure up both a story line and a worldview. Six-word review: Buy it, keep it in bathroom.”
-Philadelphia Magazine

“I fell so in love with it.”
-Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Six words. Personal stories. Infinite possibilities. These ADD autobiographies prove that brevity can be the soul not simply of wit.”
-VSL.com

“Dude’s weird premise yields interesting stories.”
-Ira Glass, NPR's This American Life

“Six-word memoirs leave book lover speechless.”
-Rocky Mountain News

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