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In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway bet ten dollars that he could write a complete story in just six words. He wrote: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."  He won the bet. 

Now an online magazine is asking its readers to sum up their own lives in just six words.


'For Sale: baby shoes, never worn'

Smith Online Magazine- Six Word Memoirs

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Smith, the American online magazine, has used the Hemingway anecdote to inspire its readers to write their life story in just six words, culminating in a book of the best contributions, entitled "Not Quite What I Was Planning".  We interviewed magazine editor, Larry Smith, what made him think of the idea.

audio iconListen to the interview


Already hundreds of you have emailed your own ideas about how to sum up a life in just six words. Below are just a few of them. You can also submit your writing to Smith magazine, which is already working on a second collection.

Three sons, eleven cats, and Yvonne.
Michael Govan

Foetus, son, brother, husband, father, vegetable.
Dick Hadfield

Conceived,implored, employed, adored, retired, ignored.
Joy MacKenzie

Beginning, gurgly. Middle, sombre. End, gurgly.
Roger Noble

Jennie, Emma, Jane, Sophie, Rose, happiness.
Peter Graham

Slow lane. Fast lane. Hard shoulder.
Alex Hansen Today.

Bantam, Anglia, Midget, Alfa, Volvo Estate.
Neil Feldman.

PM. The World Tonight. Sleep?
Stephen Brady

Womb, Play, Learn, Work, Decline, Tomb.
Jacquie Smith 

Start - programme - error - control - alt. - delete.

Outside lavatory, worked hard, now flush.
Ashley Errington

Battered ball-bearing traversing pinball machine.
Nancy Connolly

Unravelled career reknitted as baby blankets.
Clare Hobba

Started, farted, stood up, faced the wind.
Helen Eclair

Dot, two, six, three, one, wicket.
Tony Powell

Head in books, feet in flowers.
Heather Thomson

Trust me, I did my best.
Ray Kemp
An embroidered sampler, with some unpicking.
Sian Martin

Wrong era ,Wrong Class, Wrong Gender.
Patsy Wheatcroft

Love Mountains both ups and downs.
Dennis Lee

Best selling author? Instead there's this.
Ann Cummins

Wasted my whole life getting comfortable.
Richard Merrington

Worry about tomorrow, rarely enjoy today!
Richard Rabone

Dazed and confused? No. Existential angst.
Chris Miles

Pass the bottle before clarity returns
Gail Edmans

Lifetime partner, love, laughs - what now?
Peter Elvish
I'm just happy to be here!
Graham Marsh

Four Weddings, Three kids, then cancer.
Gillian Johnson

Intermitent loves here, there, now, then.
Paul Wingett

30 years two girls now branching.
Davina Marshall
Not quite finished, tell you later.
Dave Nicholson

Really should have been a Lawyer.
Gules Fallan

Hasn't Been A Jane Austen Romance.
Alexandra Lackey

Bored, so bored, so very bored.
John Doyle

Run over twice, thankfully still alive.
Trudi Evans

Aged child actress still seeking fame.

Married childhood sweetheart. Two kids. Content.
Steve McMullen

Born London, lived elsewhere, died inside.

Partner, pension, motorhome, life is good.
Bob Lindblom

Some no-balls but several boundaries.
Di Attwood

Apple leads to eviction of two.
Una McMorran

Unfortunately I didn't buy the t-shirt.
Caroline Ryan

Philosopher, fire-eater, barrister, careering through life.
Duncan Roy

My life? Six words? God knows.
Helen Underwood

Knight on white charger never showed.
Jane Kirk

No A Levels but a millionaire.
C North

Any chance I could start again?
Sunny Tailor

Lived, loved, laughed liberally and left.
Vince Horsman

Found it, Lost it, Found it.
Lucinda Lavelle
Worked all life still paying taxes.
John Ball

Born, bred.Work, wed.Dad, dead.
Colin Penfold

Tolerant woman took me in hand
Colin Bradley

Aspirations compromised by procrastination, then children.
Harry Beighton

Started slowly, then dash to line.
Richard Draper.

Happy days, sad days, empty days.
Richard Smallbone

Too many sausages, not enough sex.
Andrew Wilson

Can I start wearing purple yet?
Sue Boswell

Trekked to Everest.Married a sherpa.
Robert Moore

Laughed out loud, cried in silence.
Lisa from Weston

Age crept up and mugged me
Bill Cowan

If only I had turned left.
Robin Pickering

Thirty thousand insulin injections and counting.
Tim Kell

Saw, heard, learnt, loved, mourned, dying.
Aaron Asadi

Left mad Russian for mad Scotsman.
Maggie Morgan

Still searching around for the reins.
Jessica Kane

Run over twice, thankfully still alive.
Trudy Evans

Blankets, books, bottles, books, blankets.
Margaret Melling

Ditched the map, found better route.
Gillian Smellie

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