Dodos, book swapping and what we’ve lost: An interview with author Steve Stack
Steve Stack is the author of the joyful, ticklishly funny bolt down memory lane 21st Century Dodos. The book is a collection of dead or dying artefacts from the past 40 years, exploring what they meant, what they mean and how much we might miss them. The Upcoming caught up with him to talk of loss, tweeting and what’s next.
21st Century Dodos is perfect public transport reading. Have you caught anyone in the act yet?
Steve Stack: Great question. I have yet to see anyone reading one of my books on the train or the bus. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anyone reading one anywhere. Perhaps no one has read one. Maybe all the copies sold are sitting in toilet libraries gathering dust. How depressing. I may change my mind about that being a great question.
Where did this fascination with objects come from?
SS: I have absolutely no idea. I guess I have reached that age where there is more of life behind me than ahead of me and you can get quite attached to your past, and the things of your past, when that realisation hits you. The theme tune to a long-forgotten TV show from your youth can have more emotional impact than anything contemporary. The sight of a typewriter can make you mourn for simpler times, even if you probably wouldn’t go back if given the opportunity. Anyway, once I had the initial idea for the book it took me on a fascinating journey into the past, which I enjoyed immensely. I hope readers pick up on that when they dip into the book.
Why is it so relevant now to celebrate what we’ve lost?
SS: Because much of it vanishes before we realise it. I just want us to pause for a second to mark its passing. The objects from our past are as much a part of who we are as the people we knew or places we visited.
What do you want readers to take away from this book?
SS: If it prompts a few nostalgic smiles or knowing nods then my work here is done.
Your Twitter page has really taken off! How do you keep up with it all?
SS: I tweet as myself from @meandmybigmouth but also tweet any Dodo related content from @dodoflip. The @meandmybigmouth feed is a real mix of book reviews, terrible puns, occasional rants and RTs of things I find interesting. It isn’t that difficult to keep on top of, I just put aside a bit of time each day to load up tweets (you can do that in advance, a very handy trick) and only really hang out on there when I am travelling and have to kill some time. It would be easy to lose hours every day so I am careful to only pop in and out most of the time.
With Book Swap and your blogging, you’re changing the face of reading and publishing. What’s your vision?
SS: Oh, I am not sure I am changing the face of anything but it is nice of you to say so. I know I don’t really conform to the usual publisher type and that has its advantages and disadvantages. It forces me to try out new and different stuff and sometimes that works really well. I tend to keep quiet about the stuff that doesn’t!
What can we expect next from you?
SS: I am not sure. I was chatting to a publisher yesterday who was keen to know what I wanted to write next. I am working on a couple of fiction projects but they are going to take me ages to finish. Who knows, I might get an idea tomorrow.
21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff) is published by The Friday Project at the paperback price of £7.99, and is now available in the UK.