A few weeks ago I wrote about my newfound love of FOUND magazine which chronicles the flotsam and jetsam people find on the streets and in library books of life. Davy Rothbart, who has made a cottage industry out of finding things and writing about them, edited a book of short stories by writers and celebrities about things they have found.
Requiem for a Paper Bag is an eclectic assortment of short tales (some are true some are fiction) all about the things people find that have created stories and stuck with them over the years. The book itself is a tribute to storytelling of the most basic and most beautiful form: clever observations about finding a lucky rock or returning someone's wallet or reading an old store clerk's diary after she dies, or finding a photo of a stranger in an unusual place. These are the stories that surround us at the dinner table or cocktail parties. This is the bread and butter of our lives.
A few of the entries were ruminations on found objects that tried to tell the fictional tale of why the note was written or why the photo appeared where it did. These stories were also fun and clever twists on the theme.
As a writer and storyteller I am captivated by how we tell stories and how we find the stories we tell to begin with. This volume gives me more thoughts about good storytelling and how we find those stories and peer into them. I hope my writing friends out there will use this idea as a prompt...what have you found and how has it stayed with you over the years? Did it change your life? Or what story can you create behind the found object?
I am certainly going to begin watching for things and noticing more finds. What have you found?
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