June 1, 2011

Six Word Memoirs

Are you familiar with six word memoirs? The idea is simple: tell your story in six words. I believe the idea originated when someone challenged Hemingway to write a complete story in six words. He wrote "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn."

I've read some outstanding six word memoirs, and if you have time I recommend checking out the memoirs at Smith Magazine. Recently, Laura Shumaker (author, blogger, autism advocate) held a contest to write six word autism memoirs. I only had a couple of hours before the contest closed, but I entered three. Here they are.

"Holland Sucks. Want to go home."

For those of you not familiar, this refers to the Welcome to Holland essay that every parent of a newly diagnosed special needs child will come across. This memoir was not a winner, and I'm not surprised considering it isn't exactly full of optimism and acceptance. But sometimes it is exactly how I feel.

"Vaccines not the cause. What then?"

This memoir was a winner! The discussion over the cause of autism, and whether or not vaccines are to blame, plays a central, and often divisive, role in the autism community. I do not believe any evidence exists to suggest that vaccines cause autism, but the question "why?" is one that is always present in my mind.

"We need no words to love."

This was my favorite entry, and though not a winner, describes the parent relationship with a non-verbal child. I think it sums up my relationship with Moe perfectly.

My favorite entry of all (written by someone else) is "Never take your eyes of Joseph." This speaks to me on so many levels. I watch Moe to make sure he doesn't run off or hurt himself. I watch him constantly to keep him from getting into trouble in the house (i.e. splashing in the fish tank or dumping all the toys on the floor). But for years now, we are always observing, analyzing, assessing, and obsessing over Moe's behaviors and progress. Figuratively and literally, we never take our eyes off him.

There are some other fantastic entries, and you can read them all here. The winner,  "Give anything to understand him better," was written by my friend, another parent at Moe's school.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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