Zoilus by Carl Wilson

Now Read This: Significant Objects!

February 1st, 2010


My boyhood SF freak seems to have crept out when I was asked to write something for my friends Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker’s great project Significant Objects.

The idea, in case you haven’t run across it before, is to explore how things are invested with meaning, and therefore value, using eBay auctions as a laboratory. Josh & Rob have gone out and bought a bunch of junk, and then assigned each object (in my case, a vintage Charlie’s Angels lunchbox thermos) to a writer, who constructs a story around it. Then bidding is opened on the object at its “actual” value (in my case, $3) to see whether the story makes it more desirable, and by how much.

The result is - get this - I think my only piece of published fiction ever, though I was trying to draw on a little critical meta-thinking in terms of the various modalities of meaning-making that appear in the story. Oh, and the proceeds of the auction go to support 826 National, the non-profit tutoring and creative writing organization started by the McSweeneys/Believer gang.

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  2. aj_toronto says:

    Very cool concept. I love the idea of measuring added value. But what will they do with the results of the project? Write a book perhaps?

  3. john says:

    Hey — congrats on the published fiction! Look forward to reading it.

  4. Josh Glenn says:

    I’m amazed this is your first piece of published fiction — it’s very accomplished. Write more fiction, Carl!

  5. Toronto Movers says:

    Reminds me of the famous million dollar red paper clip story where someone ended up trading a red paper clip and converting all the way to a new house. I’ll remember to combine a great story next time I sell useless junk on ebay Amazing how words can add value to anything.

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