Msnowe's Blog

My Chotchkie Is Better Than Your Chotchkie

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on October 13, 2009

…also, m.snowe just likes saying “chotchkie.”

Imagine each grain of sand is an Awesome, Awesome Word.

Imagine Each Grain of Sand Is an Awesome, Awesome Word.

m.snowe is referring to this project/contest–where writers have been enlisted to compose very short stories, stories centered around some arbitrary, worthless knickknacks. The knickknacks in question are then auctioned off, all in some attempt to see if storytelling can thereby increase the value of an otherwise practically value-less object. Some fairly well-knowns have submitted stories, including Colson Whitehead, Jonathan Goldstein, and Nickolson Baker. Now, the creators of this little project have opened it up to any Joe or Josephine Schmo, and ask people to submit their best less-than-500-word stories about some rando BBQ sauce baster thingy.

Okay, so m.snowe thinks it’s an interesting premise, writing about rando objects. It sounds kind of like a first year composition class project. Fine. But here’s the problem: you cannot use this as an accurate gauge of how the object’s monetary value changes in response to storytelling. Because in reality, the story is not what is changing the monetary value of the chotchkie written about. Inherently, what people are paying for is the name. It would be like saying, “this baseball is absolutely worth more in itself…oh, and it happens to have Babe Ruth’s signature on it.” People are not paying for the baseball–the baseball is merely the vehicle for the expensive, added value thing appended to it. So yes, maybe Colson pulled out a good story, and people will want to read it…sure. But you can be certain that the object connected with the story is not going to be more expensive or sought-after on a large scale, aside from that single one written about. Because Colson’s story is his signature on a baseball, in effect. Which is fine. But let’s call this what it is folks–a marketing tool. Aren’t convinced? Well if this one is writing a story for it, you know it’s shameless self-promotion.