6 moments that changed a life

Larry Smith, the editor of 'The Moment,' became well-known for his "six-word memoir" idea when he and Rachel Fershleiser, a co-editor with Smith of Smith Magazine, asked readers to submit summaries of their lives in six words. The idea took off and the first book in the series was published in 2008. Now, in 'The Moment,' writers and artists from Dave Eggers to Melissa Etheridge are allowed more than six words to tell about a significant moment in their lives.

1. Gregory Maguire

Courtesy of The Revels

"Wicked" author Gregory Maguire was touring Beatrix Potter's farm in England when he spied a glove buried in the mud on the pathway leading up to Potter's farmhouse. He pulled the glove out of the ground and saw that the faces of "The Wizard of Oz" characters Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion were each stitched on a separate finger. Maguire said that that day, as he visited the farm, he had been trying to get up the courage to start a novel about the Wicked Witch of the West. When he saw the glove he realized that, "I had shaken hands with inspiration." Maguire writes, "Some child who cared for those characters as I cared for them was wandering about in the world.... I would have to get to work."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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