Significant [Vintage] Objects

[via Studio360]

It all started with a broken coffee cup. “It was a totally meaningless thing,” remembers Rob Walker, “but it happened to be a coffee cup that I had bought on a trip with my now-wife.” The ceramic casualty made Walker realize that the stories we attach to objects may be more valuable than the objects themselves.

With a collaborator, Joshua Glenn, he set about testing the premise. They bought knick-knacks at thrift stores, and asked dozens of great writers to create fictional backstories for them. Then the items, each with its story, were auctioned on eBay. One hundred of the stories are collected in the new book Significant Objects, with entries by Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Millett, Neil LaBute, and Kurt Andersen, among many others. You can read many of the stories here.

Now Studio 360 is hosting its own Significant Objects story contest.

Rob and Kurt visited Vintage Thriftin Manhattan to find three prime examples of junk. Your task is to make one piece of junk (or more) significant. Walker will judge the entries, with one winner for each object. The prize, of course, is the piece of junk itself


  • Choose an object.
  • Write a backstory for the object: it can be in any form you choose — short story, encyclopedia entry, poem, etc. (Here are some ideas to get you started.)
  • Keep it short: we suggest around 500 words. (Entries exceeding 1,000 words will not be considered.)
  • Feel free to write stories for all three objects — but only one story per object will be considered (the first submitted).
  • The deadline to be considered for our contest is 11:59 ET April 8, 2012. But you are welcome to continue submitting your work after that.

Click here for the complete rules and regulations for the contest.


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