Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Six-Word Story

“Bleak grays transform into shimmering rainbows.”
A couple of years ago, during a writing workshop, I was asked to write a six-word memoir. I don’t remember how long I was given, certainly no less than fifteen minutes and no more than thirty. I knew I wanted to express the change in my life in terms of color, I often do. I refer to my life before the brain bleeds as living in pastels, and now living in bright or brilliant color. Only six words? Choosing the right ones was not easy.

A few months ago, the founder of the Angioma Alliance asked members to write our stories in six words. My audience consisted of other brain injury survivors, we were all at different places in our recovery. I wanted to express where I was on my journey. I came up with “Discovering the new me—I am.”

Life changes, perspectives change. If I were to write a six word memoir now, it would probably be very different. It might change from day to day, or even from hour to hour, depending on my particular thoughts at the time, or what particular topic appears in recent essays I’m working on.
To gain a better understanding of my present, I looked to my past. I explored memories from my childhood, Saturdays spent on the beach and discoveries and boring visits with my grandparents. I looked to memories of me as a young adult, as a questing teenager, breaking ties with my pothead connections, and as a soldier, hitchhiking home for the weekend.
Recently I found that, the past is catching up with the present. I have renewed ties with friends I remember from school, and as I learn who they have become, I wonder where these connections will go, how they will fit in with my present.
My story right now is “Discovering my self in my past.” or “My past reaching for my present.” On the other hand, after thinking about my most recent essay where I explore my particular form of seizing the day, I write, “Marching with time—life’s celebration.” referring to the fact that I don’t get stuck for long, that I am ever changing, constantly moving along my path.
The possibilities are endless.
I could always write about this post. “Searching for a six word memoir.”