Our Two-Holer: A Mini-Memoir

Rhonda Dollens
Guest post by Rhonda Dollens

I grew up using an outhouse. That’s not unusual. Many people today can say the same thing. Our outhouse, though, was a two-holer inside the back of a storage shed. I was the second oldest of three sisters and two brothers. My brother Eldon was oldest. None of us liked the outhouse, and the girls and boys found different ways to avoid using it.

We lived in Vandalia, Missouri, at the edge of town, in a two-bedroom house my maternal grandparents bought for us. My siblings and I slept in one of the bedrooms. Daddy was a

The Patriot's Question: A Mini-Memoir

Guest post by John M. Brooks
John M. Brooks


A tall black Marine stood across from me at the motel registration desk. His uniform was filled with service medals and his sleeves dominated by sergeant stripes and gold hash marks. I knew enough about military medals from my mandatory ROTC classes to recognize him as a decorated and honored defender of our country, an image he likely meant to convey. I admired him, but did not envy his job.

It was 1963, and our country was in the middle of the Vietnam War. I was nineteen and working as a motel night clerk in Springfield, Missouri, struggling to pay my way through college and hoping not to be drafted.

The Funerals: A Mini-Memoir

Michael Humphrey
Guest post by Michael Humphrey

I sang at four funerals in my life: My maternal grandparents, my dad, and the mother of a best friend. Each funeral was different and important, and I gave my best.

The first was for Grandpa Pence at the funeral home in Maryville, Missouri. Mom picked out the hymn. The casket was in a narrow alcove about ten feet wide and twenty feet deep. The family was off to the right behind a curtain. I never really understood that. We couldn’t see who was there. I sang behind the

A 50th Anniversary Gift We Will Treasure

The Book of Us
In June of 2015, our daughter and her family gave us a wonderful gift for our 50th wedding anniversary, five months before the anniversary date.

“We couldn’t wait,” our daughter Heidi, said.

“We knew it was the perfect gift as soon as we saw it,” our granddaughter Sarah, said.

The gift is The Book of Us: A Journal of Your Love Story in 150 Questions, by husband and wife Kate and David Marshall. Five sections cover the span of a relationship, with prompts rather than questions. Each prompt is allotted only one page, so answers

Pappy and I: A Mini-memoir


John Cawlfield
Guest post by John Cawlfield

The Battle of the Argonne Forest was the last major offensive of World War I. Considered the largest battle in United States military history, 1.2 million American soldiers took part. One of those soldiers was Christopher D. Cawlfield. He was a machine gun operator for the American Expeditionary Forces. He would also become my grandfather thirty-five years later. I knew him as Pappy.

Four weeks prior to shipping out to France, he was a nineteen-year-old private first class who went AWOL. When he returned, he was thrown into the brig. After being asked the reason for being AWOL, his commanding officer released him and said, “I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for a soldier who didn’t put family first.” He was busted to buck private and sent overseas.

Pappy in his 
WWI uniform
Pappy never talked about his experiences in France, except once. We were in his shop, a rectangular building behind his house in Ash Grove, Missouri. The south wall was lined with wood work benches. Tools lay scattered about. Light was provided by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. Along the north wall was a potbelly stove and old tool chests. The floor was dirt and the place smelled of oil and wood smoke. I was fascinated by one object sitting on one of the work benches. It was an old artillery shell fashioned into a lamp. Welded to

Publish Your Mini-memoir Here

Cave painting
Mini-memoirs have been around since cave dwellers drew on walls. In today’s world, SMITH Magazine was founded in 2006 to celebrate storytelling of all forms and claims credit for introducing the six-word memoir.

A mini-memoir also could be called flash memoir. No length is standard, or even generally accepted. Lengths vary from fewer than 100 words to no more than 1,000. Six Minute Magazine seeks memoirs that can be read in under six minutes. Howard Jacobson's The Swag Man is thirty-one pages, Alexandra Fuller’s Falling is

How to Write Your Memoir or Life Story

Cover of my Kindle book
You've probably seen comedy skits with people at a buffet table. One person scoops a veggie or chip into a dip bowl, takes a bite, and then dips the same piece again. A lot of fussing ensues between the double dipper and those nearby, and hopefully a lot of laughter.

I double dipped with the title of my new Kindle book, A Guide to Writing Your Memoir or Life Story, although not to be funny. Memoir is a type of life story. However, for people searching memoir or life story, I wanted my book to appear among results on the first page, although that's never guaranteed. The subtitle, Tools, Tips, Methods, and Examples, reveals more about the book than the title.

And in the interest of even more truthyness, the title of this post is misleading. My book is not really a how-to. Again, how to shows well in searches. The