LOST OBJECTS 2022
December 21, 2022
This fall, Hat & Beard Press soft-launched LOST OBJECTS (ed. Josh Glenn and Rob Walker, design by HILOBROW friends Tony Leone Design, intro by Debbie Millman), a gorgeous book that evolved from nonfiction narratives and accompanying illustrations first published here at HILOBROW under the aegis of Project:Object.
Here are a few kind words about LOST OBJECTS:
“The contributors to this book have imbued a palpable, living soulfulness into the items that have disappeared or were misplaced or given away. Now — here in this book — that love can be discovered all over again.” — Debbie Millman | “This ridiculously entertaining book performs a neat conjuring trick. You will find your own lost objects flying back to you as you read about other people’s dearly departed things. The conceit is ingenious and the beautiful illustrations make each writer’s ‘rosebud’ flare into radiant life again.” — Jenny Offill | “These micro-tales are the best of the short confessional. They leave you with that same wonderful feeling you sometimes get on one of those special nights in the corner of a bar with a few friends.” — Air Mail | “Filled with exotic and eccentric things, this book proves that discarding hoarded items is not always the best way to take existential control of our lives.” — The Daily Heller
Is there a “Rosebud” object in your past? A long-vanished thing that lingers in your memory — whether you want it to or not? As much as we may treasure the stuff we own, perhaps just as significant are the objects we have lost. What is it about these bygone objects — why do they continue to haunt us long after they’ve vanished from our lives?
Lost Objects addresses these questions via 50 nonfiction narratives from a dazzling roster of writers, artists, thinkers, and storytellers, including Lucy Sante, Ben Katchor, Lydia Millet, Neil LaBute, Laura Lippman, Geoff Manaugh, Paola Antonelli, and Margaret Wertheim. The editors gathered a similarly impressive array of artists to illustrate these meaningful things that have gone missing. Visual contributors include Seth, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Oliver Munday, Lisa Congdon, Matt Wuerker, Anita Kunz, Alex Eben Meyer, Gary Panter, and Kelli Anderson.
Follow Lost Objects on Instagram for updates.
Stay tuned for more events in 2023…
The October 14th Lost Objects event — which took place in conjunction with a Hat & Beard Press-sponsored NYABF (New York Art Book Fair) afterparty at the ChaShaMa gallery in Brooklyn Heights, and which was hosted by Hat & Beard’s J.C. Gabel — was a very fun time.
Rob and Josh are very grateful to the talented LO contributors Ben Katchor, Paola Antonelli, Ben Greenman, Mandy Keifetz, and Becky Stern, who entertained the ChaShaMa event’s audience with their lost-object stories. More ChaShaMa event photos here.
In September, Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, Mass.) hosted Josh, Alex Gerasev, Seth Mnookin, Dante Ramos, and some of the book’s illustrators for an evening of readings and show-and-tell.
In June, Josh and several Lost Objects contributors — Dan Fox, Mimi Lipson, Debbie Millman, Stephen O’Connor, and Lucy Sante — did a reading (and chautauqua, of sorts) at McNally Jackson Seaport in NYC.
Stay tuned for more press in 2023…
On December 30, Rob Walker contributed a lovely and thoughtful Op-ed to the New York Times titled “Clutter is Good for You.” Here’s an excerpt:
Be careful what you purge. Today’s decluttering victim is tomorrow’s lost object, and lost objects are forever. That’s why I’m keeping my embarrassing ceramic leprechaun. I’m learning to appreciate it. It holds a connection for me — to my mother and to all her best intentions and instincts — that I never want to lose.
Rob also mentions the LOST OBJECTS project: “We asked various writers and artists to tell us about the things they had lost — misplaced, broken, had stolen, thrown out, given away.”
In the November 5th issue of AIR MAIL, Graydon Carter’s “digital weekly for the world citizen,” deputy editor Michael Hainey named Lost Objects one of the issue’s Recommended Reads. Here’s an excerpt:
From Seth Mnookin recalling a .22-caliber handgun he lost track of while strung out on heroin to Neil LaBute pondering what became of a strange yet cherished link to his childhood (a pickled octopus), these micro-tales are the best of the short confessional. They leave you with that same wonderful feeling you sometimes get on one of those special nights in the corner of a bar with a few friends….
In the October 12 issue of THE DAILY HELLER (at PRINT), legendary designer Scott Heller ran an interview with Josh and Rob about Lost Objects. Excerpt:
DAILY HELLER: Paola Antonelli, curator at MoMA, established the Humble Masterpieces collection, which includes things we take for granted, like M&Ms and paperclips. Is Lost Objects rooted in a similar interest with vernacular manifestations?
ROB WALKER: Humble Masterpieces was a major influence on me, and I assume (directly or indirectly) on anyone doing work around everyday objects to this day. It was an early argument for paying close attention to aspects of material culture that most people overlook or actively ignore. For us, whether with our Significant Objects fiction project, or other installments in our Project:Object series of personal essays about objects, the emphasis has long been on story — individual story. So, we’re less concerned with the design/creation of an object than with its ownership. But the spirit of attending to everyday stuff and its secret importance is still there. (By the way, Paola is in the book, writing about a lost vinyl skirt!)
JOSH GLENN: I’d just add that, like Paola, Rob and I pay close attention to everyday objects — and we hope to encourage others to do so, too. In my day job as a consulting semiotician, I spent a lot of time analyzing not only what, but how, objects mean what they mean to us. Project:Object invites its contributors to answer those questions, too.
Heller also had the following to say about Lost Objects: “Filled with exotic and eccentric things, this book proves that discarding hoarded items is not always the best way to take existential control of our lives.”
Slate’s podcast WORKING features interviews with creative people about the nitty-gritty aspects of their work processes. The August 14 episode features Rob and Josh, who — in conversation with co-host June Thomas — discuss Lost Objects, as well as their long-term creative partnership.
Here’s an excerpt:
WORKING: There are fifty — fifty essays [in Lost Objects]…. These are very short pieces. I actually didn’t count how many words your limit is, but this is a very specific kind of writing form that you guys typically work with — in all of your object projects. How do you find people? Because, you know, that’s a very specific format. How do you find that Rolodex or how did you hone that Rolodex? “These are people who I think probably could write four or five hundred words in a in a format that people would want to read.”
ROB WALKER: There is no answer to that — it’s trial and error. Josh and I have things where we’re different and things where we have a lot in common, and one of the things we have in common is that we’re both voracious readers-slash-fans. We’re interested in other writers, and we’re interested in seeing what will happen. So you don’t know — and that’s part of what makes it interesting. Like, “I don’t know if June Thomas will be able to come through with 450 excellent words.” (But I mean, I kind of know.) And we’ve certainly had people turn us down — that’s part of the trial and error. And then on much more rare occasions, we’ve had things that didn’t work out — where we learned that someone is actually not capable of doing four hundred and fifty words. [Laughter]
WORKING: What kind of editing do you do and how have you developed the specific editing skills for this specific, weird format?
JOSH GLENN: If you have a platonic ideal of the word count in your head, you also have a little bit of a sense of — you know, what it should look like, how it should feel. For example, if you only have five hundred words to play with, you cannot do a lot of “throat clearing,” as they say. You can’t let the writer [of a hypothetical story about a lost bowling ball] start out by saying, “The history of the bowling ball is quite fascinating. It began in 1834…” You know what I mean? And then only finally after a hundred and fifty words get to their own bowling ball and what it meant to them. Right at the top, you can just say, “OK, I can see right away from your first draft that you did too much of that [throat-clearing]. Can you please try again?” But we don’t do a lot of very close, you know, line editing with these writers — because we trust them. These are all writers that we like — which is why we are fans of theirs. An editor shouldn’t have to do a lot of work, if you hire a good writer. You should trust them.
In June, Rob Walker was interviewed by Debbie Millman as part of her WHAT MATTERS series — an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers — at the website PRINT. And in July, Josh was interviewed for WHAT MATTERS too.
Stay tuned for more excerpts in 2023…
The September (print) issue of Harper’s excerpts Lucy Sante’s “Club Chair,” illustration by Kate Bingaman-Burt. And the Harper’s website published the excerpt in August.
In September, the Boston Globe‘s IDEAS section excerpted the following three Lost Objects stories and illustrations: Alex Gerasev’s “Karma Parka” (ill. Alex Gerasev), Leah Hennessey’s “Batman Ring” (ill. Dean Haspiel), and Stephen O’Connor’s “Hunting Hat” (ill. Oliver Munday).
In July, The Millions excerpted Lydia Millet’s “Rocky Horror Novel,” illustration by Berta Vallo.
In July, PRINT excerpted Debbie Millman’s Lost Objects introduction.
Excerpt: “What struck me most while reading Lost Objects is how much love humans project into inanimate things. The contributors to this book have imbued a palpable, living soulfulness into the items that have disappeared or were misplaced or given away. Now — here in this book — that love can be discovered all over again.”
In June, Lit Hub published an excerpt — Alex Balk’s “Shooting Gallery,” illustration by John Lowe — to coincide with our NYC pre-sale event that day at McNally Jackson.
In July, Lit Hub published a second excerpt: Nina Katchadourian’s “Fountain Pens,” illustration by Lisa Congdon.
Josh and Rob are the book’s editors, and the authors of its foreword and afterword. Debbie Millman is author of the book’s introduction.
The book’s contributing writers, in no particular order: Kate Bernheimer | Dan Piepenbring | Doug Dorst | Paul Lukas | Mimi Lipson | Lucy Sante | Nina Katchadourian | Matthew Sharpe | Claire Lehmann | Jessamyn West | Mandy Keifetz | M.R. Sauter | Amy Thielen | Stephen O’Connor | Alice Boone | Dante Ramos | Alex Balk | Chelsey Johnson | Susannah Breslin | Seth Mnookin | Dan Fox | Lisa Takeuchi Cullen | Michael Tisserand | Jeff Turrentine | Randy Kennedy | Geoff Manaugh | Joe Yonan | Laura Lippman | Ben Katchor | Neil LaBute | Miranda Mellis | Chris Piascik | Anita Kunz | Debbie Millman | Heather Kapplow | Lydia Millet | Ben Greenman | Leah Hennessey | Kathryn Davis | Mikita Brottman | Nathaniel Rich | Charles Glaubitz | Seth | Becky Stern | Mark Dery | Paola Antonelli | Sara Ryan | Alex Gerasev | Margaret Wertheim | Gary Panter
The book’s contributing artists, in the same non-particular order: Amy C. Evans | Josh Neufeld | John Holbo | Allison Bamcat | Mister Reusch | Kate Bingaman-Burt | Lisa Congdon | Glenn Jones | Karen Kurycki | Amanda Clarke | Emory Allen | Shayna Piascik | Heather Kasunick | Oliver Munday | Rick Pinchera | Joe Alterio | John Lowe | Rubi McGrory | Jennifer Heuer | Alex Eben Meyer | Linzie Hunter | Rose Wong | Jackie Roche | Andrew DeGraff | Max Temescu | Mariana Pita | Theo Ellsworth | Laura Didyk | Ben Katchor | Disa Wallander | Adam Goldberg | Chris Piascik | Anita Kunz | Debbie Millman | Matt Wuerker | Berta Vallo | Clara Selina Bach | Dean Haspiel | Dina Noto | Sarah Williamson | Ellen Rose | Charles Glaubitz | Seth | Monica Garwood | Kelli Anderson | Sophie Calhoun | Steve Lieber | Alex Gerasev | Armando Veve | Gary Panter
Our original publication date was going to be in June — hence the timing of the earliest events, press, and excerpts above.
ALSO SEE: PROJECT:OBJECT homepage | POLITICAL OBJECTS (1Q2017) | TALISMANIC OBJECTS (2Q2017) | ILLICIT OBJECTS (3Q2017) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 1 (4Q2017) | FLAIR (2Q2018) | FOSSILS (4Q2018) | FETISHES (2Q2019) | LOST OBJECTS vol. 2 (4Q2019) | MOVIE OBJECTS (2Q2020) | SEMIO OBJECTS (2Q2021) | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (cross-posted from Significant Objects website). ALSO SEE: SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS website | LOST OBJECTS (Hat & Beard Press, 2022) | SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS collection, ed. Rob Walker and Josh Glenn (Fantagraphics, 2012) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY, ed. Josh Glenn (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) | TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY excerpts.