S.O. Book News

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IN THIS POST: Kathryn Davis, Jonathan Lethem, Joe Lyons, Jim Shepard, Jennifer Michael Hecht.

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 eighth 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).


36. Kathryn Davis’ YELLOW BEAR story. Excerpt:

In the morning when the sorcerer brought Mary her breakfast tray of tea and toast he found her propped on her pillows, the bear at her breast. Mary was no longer smiling but had tears running down her cheeks. “I don’t know if I can do it,” Mary told him. The jingling sound was very loud now, ear-splitting. “She won’t stop,” Mary said. “She needs something from you, too. That’s how babies get made, in case you forgot.”


37. Jonathan Lethem’s MISSOURI SHOTGLASS story. Excerpt:

See that freaky little bird? That’s the state bird, my friend. The Missouri Hunt-and-Pecker. Never heard of ’em? Well, then I guess you’ve never been to Missouri, have you? Maybe passed through, didn’t get out of the car. Or changed planes in the airport, or went up in the Arch once, just to say you’d done it. But that’s not Missouri to me. St. Louis is the gateway, sure, but you want to know Missouri you need to drive a few hours into the corn, you want to visit St. Joseph, up through Maryville — skirt the Iowa border, though Iowa’s a sore point from where I sit. You need to get lost in Missouri or you never really were there in the first place. Even then you won’t be likely to meet the Hunt-and-Pecker unless you circulate a manuscript or two.


38. Joe Lyons’ LETTERS AND NUMBERS PLATE story. Excerpt:

One day Samuel was using the plate to cool down nails he was making in his shop. He looked down at the metal shavings floating in the water he had in the plate and said aloud, “Will these nails hold true?” Suddenly, the shavings joined together and floated to the edges of the plate until it spelled out “Yes.” Intrigued, Samuel continued: “How many will I need for Jonathan’s barn?” The shavings pointed to two, then five, then zero. Convinced his eyes were deceiving him, he asked, “What happened to my best hammer last spring?” After about fifteen minutes, the shavings eventually spelled out “Hezekiah pilfered it.”


39. Jim Shepard’s STAR WARS CARDS story. Excerpt:

“So what is it?” I asked her a little while later. She went into her room and came back with a little package wrapped in candy cane paper. I tore off the wrapping and I’m standing there with a little box of Clone Wars collectible cards in my hand.

“You always liked Star Waters,” she said. One time in school a teacher asked what my mother’s first language was and I told him she didn’t have one.

“I’m thirty-three years old,” I told her.

“That means you can’t like cards?” she said. “That means you can’t enjoy anything any more?”


40. Jennifer Michael Hecht’s “HAKUNA MATATA” FIGURINE story. Excerpt:

Kathy is smoking a joint in the kitchen and looking at Michael Phelps on a Corn Flakes box. Phelps won eight gold medals swimming in the Olympics and then lost his Corn Flakes endorsement deal because of a photograph of him smoking a bong. Kathy’s boyfriend saw a pre-bong cereal box at the supermarket and snatched it up. He likes things like this. Now the Phelps cereal box has been mounted prominently for many months on a kitchen shelf. Phelps is in the pool up to his neck, holding up one finger and smiling like crazy. She takes a hit and smiles back at him. She replies to his “We’re number one” finger with her own. She rests her lighter on a ceramic figurine of the “Hakuna Matata” guys from The Lion King. Kathy had been to Kenya with her second husband and people there said “Hakuna matata” the way we say, “No problem,” and they pronounce it like a machine gun, fast and hard.


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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