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Wednesday Writing Prompt: Dream Keepers and the Six-Word Memoir

Rochelle with some of the founding Dream Keepers

In 2006, I started Dream Keepers, a writing group for at-risk tweens and teens in the city of Milwaukee. Here’s what my website says about the group:

The Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop unites parents, teachers, and professional writers-in-residence to teach youth how they can transform their lives and their communities through writing. Dream Keepers opens up quiet, safe spaces for young people to read and write and provides them with an online venue for sharing their work.

Dream Keepers began with a small group of tween and teen girls in a church. Today, Dream Keepers meets at various locations in the Milwaukee Public Library and works with both boys and girls. My goal is to grow Dream Keepers in the coming years, so that writers all over the world (dreaming big now!) host Dream Keepers chapters in their libraries. For that reason, I’m working on a book about the process I developed for Dream Keepers. Throughout the next year, I’ll be blogging parts of that book for the Wednesday Writing Prompt. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas for your own writing and possibly inspire you to write with young people!

Today—the six-word memoir. The Dream Keepers have been writing six-word memoirs since the very beginning. The idea comes from the legend that Ernest Hemingway, challenged to write a very short story, produced this: For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn. This legend led to a contest sponsored by Smith Magazine and a series of six-word memoir books.

The Dream Keepers, it turns out, are fabulous memoirists. Here are some of my favorites from the early years:

Look at me! Rude to stare. —Deanna Branch

One fall, one laugh, one lonely girl. —Maya Montgomery

First cavity. Painful. Ruins my life. —Rachel Coney

Got greedy. Got ____. Got. Got. —Elisha Branch

This past summer and again last week, the Dream Keepers wrote six-word memoirs as a part of The Book of Me class. I invited my children to participate. My teenaged son said, “Six words is too many. Can I write five?” (He did. It rocks. But I’m not allowed to show you.) Here’s my daughter’s memoir:

Your turn: Write several six-word memoirs about your life. Use juicy words. Then, if you have time (and like artsy stuff) create a collage or artistic representation of your memoir. Feel free to share your memoirs below!

7 Responses

  1. Pingback : Writing Prompt… Your six word memoir… « Turtleberry Press

      1. Love this. I often feel as if my writing paertrns should have their names on the cover of my novel (when/if it gets published) alongside my name. My agent, too, is on her third round of editing help . . . I should probably add her name to the cover. And then there was Alan, that freelance editor who saved my life. So yeah, on the cover of my book: BY Janna, Linera, Sean, Midge, Becka, Alan, Hillary, and Sarah.Thanks for the great reminder that ALL writers (not just us new kids) have a team of help behind them.Sarah Callenderb4s last blog post ..Like? 2

  2. Pingback : Wednesday Writing Prompt: Six-Word Scary Stories by Rochelle Melander | Write Now Coach! Blog

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