Using the 6-Word Memoir in the Writing Center

This post was originally published in the Palmetto State Writing Association’s digital newsletter by Bonnie Devet, Director of the College of Charleston’s Writing Lab with consultants Will Allen, Jalen Brooks-Knepfle, Alli Camp, Emily Clark, Chloe Field, Lauren Findlay, Wilson Ford, Antony Garruzzo, Ryan Hall, Michael Hals, Olivia Liska, Winnier Meyers, Megan Minchak, Jessica Moon, Tori Rego, Alexia Tadros, Hayle Thomas, and Abby Tummers

WC consultants know best.  They are savvy, reflective souls, always eager to describe their work with clients.  So, in honor of International Writing Center Week, I asked the College of Charleston (SC) Writing Lab consultants to write about their experiences as consultants.  Using an idea from Andrew Jeter on the WC Listserv, I asked my consultants to write a 6-word memoir, based on Ernest Hemingway’s overly famous “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I explained that now was the consultants’ chance to reveal all, such as what they love (or not) about being consultants, what part of themselves they use to work with clients, or what it means to help students one-to-one.  Here are these miracle memoirs, in only 6-words:

Dreary Client. Constructs thesis. Happy day.

Oh, no! It’s Turabian style, again.

We always wear lots of hats.

Flow and grammar scratch the surface.

Well, at least it’s not calculus.

*“Just check for grammar and flow.”

I don’t proofread; I consult.

*Confusion; Assistance

Clarity; Joy

Understanding; Accomplishment

The rewarding satisfaction of finding solutions!

Semi-colons are stronger than commas.

Sure, we can make it flow.

Remember, tomorrow is a new day.

“How do you use a semi-colon?”

In the business of fixing commas

Making a difference in lives matters!

Then, to round out the project, the consultants voted for the best 6-word memoir, with the winner receiving a small prize. (The “winners” are starred.) These 6-word memoirs have helped me as a director: not only have I been able to emphasize to the consultants the power of compact writing but I have also been able to underscore, for IWCA Week, the role of consultants in a center.