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
To call Shopsin’s “a Greenwich Village institution” was to understate something profound and important and weird and funny: Shopsin’s (first a grocery store, later a restaurant) was a kind of secret reservoir of the odd and wonderful and informal world that New York City once represented, in the pre-Trumpian days of Sesame Street and Times Square sleaze: Tamara Shopsin grew up in Shopsin’s, and Arbitrary Stupid Goal is her new, “no-muss memoir,” is at once charming and sorrowing, a magnificent time-capsule containing the soul of a drowned city.
There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library.
I’m teaching the Clarion Science Fiction writing workshop at UCSD in La Jolla this week, and tomorrow night at 7PM, I’ll be reading from my novel Walkaway at Comickaze Liberty Station, 2750 Historic Decatur Rd #101, San Diego, CA 92106. Hope to see you!
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