Reflections on 2020: Our Six-Word Memoirs

Six feet apart from my shoes.
—Ashly Cabral Arno

Eating to live; oops, the opposite!
—Vanina Bousquet

A bad time for lipstick lovers.
—Francis Almonte

You can smile with your eyes.
—Oleksandra Dalaya

Applaud each other from a distance.
—Ayumi Ota

Nonstop numbers, sky window, 7:00 p.m. cheers.
—Limin Yang

Pajamas, pajamas are an everyday outfit.
—Hui-Yu (Iris) Kao

Long scary winter, post-virus lifestyle.
—Barbara Guardigli

Impeachment, Covid, lockdown, election, citizenship, vaccine.
—Oleksandra Dalaya

Planned many things, Covid broke everything.
—Yuci Jhuo

Winter, spring, summer from the window.
—Hui-Yu (Iris) Kao

Social distancing = taking my humanity away.
—Juan Carlos Villalta Recinos

The “city that never sleeps” sleeps.
—Paula Robayo Torres

Looking great! From the waist up.
—Robin Poley

In September 2020, The New York Times published “The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs: ‘The world has never felt smaller,’” curated and edited by Larry Rivers and inspired by the six-word short story attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Together, as Rivers writes, these micro-memoirs “make sense of this moment in history.”

Robin Poley’s students at The New York Public Library’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library hail from across the globe: Francis Almonte: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Vanina Bousquet: Paris, France; Ashly Cabral Arno: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Oleksandra Dalaya: Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine; Barbara Guardigli: Forlì, Italy; Hui-Yu (Iris) Kao: Tainan, Taiwan; Yuci Jhuo: Taichung, Taiwan; Ayumi Ota: Osaka, Japan; Paula Robayo Torres: Bogotá, Colombia; Juan Carlos Villalta Recinos: Santa Ana, El Salvador; Limin Yang: Shanghai, China.