Your Favorite Author’s Life Story in Just Six Words

Here’s a challenge: Can you identify some of contemporary literature’s most famous voices from just six words of their life story? We’ve pulled some of our favorite pithy memoirs from It All Changed in an Instant (SMITH Magazine’s new sequel to Not Quite What I Was Planning), and blacked out the attribution to make things interesting. If you’re feeling stumped, don’t feel bad (and look at the tags on this post for hints), some of them are deceptively simple.

So would you believe me anyway? – James Frey

Heart fattens, skin thins. Who knew? – Sloane Crosley

The only way out is in. – Junot Diaz

The miserable childhood leads to royalties. – Frank McCourt (This person originally submitted a five-word memoir, explaining, “I thought I’d get away with it. ‘Brevity is the soul of wit,’ said that English bard.”)

Former boss: “Writing’s your worst skill.” – Amy Tan

Prostate hurts from all the grief. – Gary Shteyngart

Shiny head. Hippie hair. Shiny head. – Wally Lamb

Writing is easy. Life is hard. – Neil LaBute (This person also submitted this: “I loved her once. Forgive me.”)

Father: “Anything but journalism.” I rebelled. – Malcolm Gladwell

Redhead, need I say more? – Susan Orlean

Lost everything but my loving husband. – Anne Sexton

Dealt bad cards. Played them well. – Joe Queenan