Sandbox Challenge #2: Tell a Good Lie

Cheap knick knacks sell for higher prices on eBay when they come with interesting background stories—even if those stories are lies. That’s what the creators of the Significant Objects Project found. Wanting to understand how we imbue items with value, they asked writers to make up tales about random thrift store purchases. Although the eBay descriptions clearly state the histories are fictional, the objects still sell for significantly more than their original purchase prices.

fountain pen

I read about this fascinating project here, and it inspires today’s challenge:

Make up a false history about any item you can see right now. (Or any item you own, if you prefer.) Your description can be just one sentence, a paragraph, or more. It can be funny, touching, historical, mystical, whatever you want.

Post your faux-background stories in the Go Wild! section of the Reader’s Sandbox.

For inspiration, check out some of the wonderful stories of the Significant Objects Project here.

The purpose of this challenge is simple creative play. It’s meant to amuse your muse and get your creative juices flowing with a quick no-stress bit of writing.


Here are a couple of mine:

My grandmother used to write to Franklin Roosevelt with this pen. She wrote letters to him weekly for a while, expressing her opinions on the events of the day. Gran received many responses from his office, which she kept in a thick leather binder. Unfortunately, in 1973, a fire destroyed the binder and all the letters. But my grandmother kept the pen, and always carried it in her purse. She died two decades after that fire, and left the pen to me in her will.

The fan next to my desk belonged to a local punk rocker named Mike Fester. He dated my friend Brenda for a while in the late 1980s. One night I was backstage at one of his shows, and he threw it at me, after making an insulting comment about his fans. When it hit my shin and broke the skin, Mike and Brenda laughed. I grabbed the fan and left. I never talked to either one of them again, but the fan still runs perfectly.

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World,


7 Responses to “Sandbox Challenge #2: Tell a Good Lie”

  1. 1 IndiaInk August 21, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Thank you for commenting on my site. I have been in the middle of a huge renovation of both of my blogs and had not checked my comments yet. I love your site. It is so motivational. Love this prompt!

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