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Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel This Vacant Paradise, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Drift, her collection of interlinked short stories, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009. Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.

22 responses to “Obscure Objects”

  1. Natasha says:

    So funny and so relatable. Makes me want to go around the house and look at all the weird things I can’t get rid of…

  2. Zara Potts says:

    I am a collector rather than a hoarder. I have ridiculous collections of things ranging from Russian dolls to Czech glassware to Greek religious icons to ceramic bunnies to hand embroidered cross stitch with curse words on them.
    On second thoughts, maybe I am a hoarder. I have every letter ever sent to me, every school report, painting I ever drew, every card I ever sent. Jinkers.
    It runs in my family I think. I have the gene.

  3. Matt says:

    I used to be collector, but the as I age I find I prefer to keep my living quarters more and more Spartan; every time I move I get rid of about 30% of my stuff. I really just don’t like the thought of being weighed down by “stuff.”

    My general rule now for purchase is: is this item, first and foremost, of practical use–even if that use is just the generation of my overall pleasure (books/DVDs/CDs etc.)? If not, then I don’t buy it. Helps keep both my spending in check and my apartment from getting too cluttered.

    That said, though, I DO have a little treasure box, and I’m pretty sure nothing in there (old letters, guitar picks found at concerts, a shark’s tooth I found while snorkeling) is really of practical use at all.

    I love your kid’s creations. Mutant bunny, indeed!

    • Maybe I need to move. We haven’t moved in many years. I did end up throwing away a bunch of stuff the other day–mostly old X-mas and b-day cards. Why’d I save them? Many of them were just signed by the person who’d sent it, without any special message. But I saved them.

      • Jude says:

        Moving house is always a good way to reassessing those items you ‘think’ are so precious you can’t throw away. I reckon every 7-9 years is a good time lag. It’s almost a necessity in our house – you know you have too much when you can’t fit anything more in the cupboards.

    • I can’t get Mutant Bunny’s picture to show. I don’t know why.

  4. Matt says:


    I’m teasing Zara. When she first came out to L.A. last year she mentioned that she used to collect rubbers – not knowing that it’s a colloquialism for condoms here. In NZ “rubbers” means rubber erasers.

  5. Love that you still have your first diary, Victoria, and that it spawned stacks of journals. Same thing here. (In my first diary entry, I write about getting to see “The Return of the Pink Panther”, my first PG movie.) Wonder what significance the pink glass ball held for the elderly woman? Kind that she imparted it to you, regardless.

  6. Marni Grossman says:

    I’m a binger and purger when it comes to objects. I save and I save and then, one day, I must clean. Must. Clean. Everything. Which results in the unfortunate problem of losing stuff that I’ll later wish I’d kept. Of course, if I had a “this chick’s had it” wall hanging thingie, I’d never let it go.

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