S.O. Book News

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IN THIS POST: Rachel Axler, R.K. Scher, Peter Rock, Patrick Cates, Padgett Powell.

DON’T FORGET: On October 9th, from 6-7 p.m., as part of Litquake’s Litcrawl, SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS will present its first live event: An Evening of Remarkable Stories about Unremarkable Things featuring Rob Baedeker, Chris Colin, Miranda Mellis, Beth Lisick, and Katie Wiliams. (plus the first-ever Object Slam) at San Francisco’s Root Division. Map to Venue. Confirm your attendance on Facebook!


This is the fourth installment in a series of twenty posts announcing — in no particular order — which 100 stories will be collected in the Significant Objects book (forthcoming in 2011 from Fantagraphics).


16. Rachel Axler’s FORTUNE-TELLING DEVICE story. Excerpt:

Q: John showed everyone at school the weird CD I got him and everyone at school laughed at me. Except Alex, who looked kind of hurt or angry or something. That was a jerky suggestion, fortuneteller… Why are you shaking? You’re shaking a little. Are you laughing? Are you actually laughing?! A: MAYBE

Q: I can’t believe this! You’re totally evil! Are you purposely giving me terrible answers? A: NO WAY

Q: You just don’t want to admit how in love with me John is! You’re trying to break us up! A: MAYBE


17. R.K. Scher’s INDIAN MAIDEN story. Excerpt:

The thing about the squaw was that she changed places. The first time I saw, and photographed, her, she was half driven into the dirt. The next photo shows her lying on some dead leaves. Then she disappeared for three days. The fourth day found her 50 yards away. This time, I plotted the location on my map, in ballpoint pen. It went on like this for weeks, an old souvenir hopscotching across a blanker and blanker landscape, followed by my ballpoint pen.


18. Peter Rock’s POODLE FIGURINE story. Excerpt:

She records it all. On the quiet nights she listens to Mr. Neidorf through her headphones, turned up high: Wheelbarrow? I’ll put things in you — Tap, tap, tap — wheelbarrow you all around. I’ll make you lick my sweet outlets. She lies on her bed in her underwear and her running shoes, ready and shivering, his words in her head. Perhaps it is not his hands she notices most, yet she feels him holding her, his fingers curve around. Eyes closed, she sees the tiny porcelain doll he’s made in her likeness, and one of Ranger, too; he holds them, white, one in each hand, tapping and tapping, calling her.


19. Patrick Cates’ MEAT TENDERIZER story. Excerpt:

The Haunch’s final day came and whistled by. An all-day and all-night procession of meat-industry men lining up with chokes and tears to clench Tony tightly and tell him that it was a shocking state of affairs. At ten to eleven, a defeated Tony followed his usual routine. He pulled the wooden meat tenderizer out of the lamb skull where it sat all day, held it back over his shoulder and smashed it down on the brass bell that hung above the bar. Over the top of the fading clang, he bellowed “Last orders!” like a sergeant-major and awaited the onrush. And then, ten minutes later, another smash with the hammer. “Time at the bar!”


20. Padgett Powell’s MICKEY MOUSE PATCH story. Excerpt:

It is little known that the singer Marcia Ball worked briefly as a teenager at Disney. One day at the close of the shift she was climbing out of her Goofy suit and was frightened to see two albino boys climbing out of their suits. It was Johnny and Edgar Winter. Marcia said something to the effect that she had never seen boys so white and Johnny turned on her and said, “I’m so white I am blind and I can’t take this shit that sun out there besides I can play the guitar.” Marcia liked his pluck.


MORE NEWS: For updates about the Significant Objects project and forthcoming collection, visit the archive and subscribe via RSS. For Author Updates, visit the archive and subscribe via RSS. Also: Check out the Significant Objects Bookstore!


"Significant Objects combines one of the oldest of all media — the near-improvised short story — with the reinvigorated writer-reader relationship afforded by Web 2.0." — The Independent's Couch Surfer. Follow us on Twitter; join us on Facebook.

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