S.O. Book News

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IN THIS POST: Jason Grote, J. Robert Lennon, Helen DeWitt, Greg Rowland, Ed Park.


This is the ninth 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).


41. Jason Grote’s DOME DOLL story. Excerpt:

I cannot recall the specific turn of events that led to my being placed behind this glass. I have memories of walking around, of freshly mown lawns, of friendly dogs licking my hand, and of attending church services and barbecues. However, this could be a trick of memory: it is possible that I have only seen or heard about these things, and not experienced them at all. The only thing I can truly be sure of is the glass, and the dust on the glass, and what little I can see of the world beyond the glass.


42. J. Robert Lennon’s CHOIRBOY FIGURINE story. Excerpt:

… I wanted to march down the stairs and tell her she had ruined me, that I hated her, to smash my violin against the cracked and disintegrating cement cherub that stood in the center of her flower garden, which my father had bought her in a happier time, or perhaps a time in which unhappiness was still latent, not yet fully expressed — but instead I reached out to the squat and ugly little end table that stood in the corner of the landing and took into my hand the nearest of her china figurines, all of them together a mystery, for they were cheap and tacky and beneath her deluded sense of herself as the wife of a man of wealth and power…


43. Helen DeWitt’s SARS MASK story. Excerpt:

On a market stall I happened to see, oh how lovely! a SARS mask within a plastic envelope. You needed protection yourself, Bill; you needed your very own personal plastic envelope. And I didn’t know. And more to the purpose, because life must go on, here was a chance to practice my Japanese! The label included both English text and an enchanting title for the object incorporating both hiragana and katakana: よyo こko はha マma スsu クku. I didn’t know that masuku was Japanese for mask, Bill, did you?


44. Greg Rowland’s MUSHROOM SHAKER story. Excerpt:

A human female, who carried no malign fungal infections, gave me this Mushroom Shaker. She was attracted to mycologists, and had never knowingly uttered The Joke (op cit.). She was a dilettante mycologist at best, yet her shiny shoes and gadfly, fungal-free demeanor blinded me.

Some might see this as a thoughtful gift for a mycologist. They would be wrong. This “gift” is merely an extension of the ritual degradation of our science by the non-mycology community (see above, passim.) This is why its companion piece is now in several pieces in a landfill, having been battered into fragments by a specialized hard-fungal chipping utensil.


45. Ed Park’s COW VASE story. Excerpt:

This went on for round after round, hour after hour, and should have been the most boring thing in the world. Yet Darren and I soon found ourselves playing Mountains of Moralia to the exclusion of all our other games.

When Darren finally emerged triumphant, we jumped to Chapter 8, where we learned that we had just finished waging the Battle of Lavache, and that we could send in a certificate, signed by all players, for a free limited-edition trophy.

We sent it in, waited for six weeks. This is what we got. We never played Mountains of Moralia again. When I found this cow figure last week, stored with the fine china, I e-mailed Darren and asked if he still had the game. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about.


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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