S.O. Book News

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IN THIS POST: Margaret Wertheim, Lydia Millet, Lucinda Rosenfeld, Luc Sante, Kevin Brockmeier.

UPCOMING EVENT: On October 9th (from 6-7 p.m. at San Francisco’s Root Division, 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. Map to Venue. Confirm your attendance on Facebook!


This is the seventh 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).


31. Margaret Wertheim’s PINCUSHION OWL story. Excerpt:

Throughout those ghastly years, other high-tech hubs in India and China faded out of the matrix and fear gripped the planet. Dr. Svetskaia conducted tests of her own, for she was not convinced by the flux thesis. Sometimes she noticed that when the Minkometer in her office was turned toward the corner where the little owl stood, it flickered erratically. She assumed this was a circuit fault, but when efforts at repair failed she realized that the owl itself was affecting the matrix — positively. Somehow, it was strengthening the fabric of spacetime — not the curvature, which Einstein’s field equations described, but the strength of the membrane.


32. Lydia Millet’s CHILI CAT story. Excerpt:

I’d never met the great aunt but as the sun sank low outside, G and R’s laughter floated in to me, and shadows crept over the bare living room floor I started to feel bad for all those abandoned barnyard animals. I picked through the pigs and roosters with a kind of sadness until finally I found Chili Cat. Ugly as sin, there was no getting around that. No reason at all for the cat to be festooned with red chilis. There was a Mexican motif, I guessed. Maybe Tex-Mex. Chili Cat was supposed to be festive.


33. Lucinda Rosenfeld’s CREAMER COW story. Excerpt:

Anyway, for whatever reason, Norman brought this golden cow creamer with him to Riggs—and then failed to bring it home. Which is how it ended up in my grandmother’s kitchen in nearby Pittsfield, where it sat on the windowsill next to a Provencal rooster (also made of porcelain) until her death in 1983. What’s more, according to my mother, at some point my grandmother started referring to the creamer as “Norman,” as in, “Let’s all have tea—someone grab Norman.”


34. Luc Sante’s FLANNEL BALL story. Excerpt:

Time passed. The seasons came and went: hockey, muskrat, sweeps week, estrus. I grew a mustache and shaved it off, twice. I enjoyed the stylings of eight cars for varying lengths of time. I fell in love with Sheila, Bambi, Marla, Candy, Darla, Brandy, and Concepción. At work I climbed from office boy to field officer to regional sales manager to CFO, and then back down again. My apartment grew ever denser with stuff. I could barely move around, and tended to use and wear only things from the top layer, a fleeting category. One time I was poking around for some itch cream when my hand grasped the ball. I couldn’t move it.


35. Kevin Brockmeier’s ROPE/WOOD MONKEY story. Excerpt:

Samantha was always coming home with these trinkets she would pick up at thrift stores or flea markets. One day, on the kitchen counter, I found this little rope and wood figurine, about the size of a saltshaker. It looked exactly like a toy my dad had bought for me at a garage sale when I was a kid: the same spoon-shaped ears, the same Chinese hat. I had named him Mickey the Drum, I remembered. I had a vivid recollection of looking at him on the shelf above my dresser and feeling this bottomless sadness that he didn’t have a mouth.


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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