Writing About ‘The Moment’ When Your Life Changed : NPR

Talk of the Nation interviewed Larry Smith, the editor of Smith Magazine, and now the editor of the new book “The Moment — Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure.” This live link will take you to the interview and samples from the book.  Writing About ‘The Moment’ When Your Life Changed : NPR.

January 3, 2012

The six-word memoir conceit grew into a popular series of books, but the editors knew it was tough to share a meaningful story in so few words. So Smith Magazine prompted its community to write about the moments that changed their lives — the moments of clarity, the things that happened to them, the things they made happen.

The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous and Obscure is a collection of the tales readers and friends of the magazine submitted.The titles of the stories, from “The Thin Envelope” to “The First Kiss,” hint at the revelatory moments within.

The Moment is a great starter.

When I attended a writing weekend last year, the subject of where to begin to dive into a story came up over and over. The presenter, a songwriter, carried a little black moleskine with her. In it she wrote random story starters — all weekend long she was seen to grab it, open it to any page, and write down a word or two. She said she would use tools like this to challenge her in her morning pages.

Some of our exercises included starter questions like the one in this book. After we would write long passages, she would ask us to trim the pages down, and we did this over and over until we had the essence in one paragraph.

I thought of that while I was listening to this story today. The interview, the book, the concept, and the resources mentioned — are each a place to start.

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