Significant Objects book interview and story reading

Yesterday I was on the Madeleine Brand show on KPCC radio along with Joshua Glenn to talk about Significant Objects, a short story anthology Joshua co-edited with Rob Walker. They even let me read part of the short story I contributed to the anthology.

Can a few words dramatically increase the economic value of a yard sale castaway?

That what Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker set to find out when they started "Significant Objects," a project that invited people to write stories about unimportant trinkets and knick-knacks found in thrift stores that they re-sold on eBay.

The auctions are upfront that the stories are fiction, but regardless, seemingly irrelevant novelties that are given a backstory are sold for much higher than one would expect. The 100 objects, purchased for $1.25 each on average, sold for nearly $8,000.00 in total.

"We went to thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets ... These are the things that nobody wanted; these are the lowest of the low," Glenn described. "We got a duck vase, a crumb sweeper, a brass apple, a bouncing bird thingy, a mermaid figurine that was broken and washed up on the beach. Some obscure kind of stirring or cooking implement that we don't really know what it does. A pool ball shaped cigarette lighter."

'Significant Objects' project gives trinkets a valuable backstory