Selected Shorts: It Chooses You

"Traveler 155" by Walter Martin & Paloma Munoz

A friend of mine used to collect snow globes. He had a whole shelf dedicated to their display, and people would bring globes back from around the world to add to his collection. Las Vegas, Rio, Pompeii, Beijing. Another shelf was added, and then another, until an entire wall of his apartment was full of these small underwater scenes, shimmering with flecks of white. They would have been a perfect addition to Miranda July’s new book, It Chooses You, featured on this week’s edition of Selected Shorts. Part book, part art-project, It Chooses You began while July was struggling to write the screenplay for The Future. As a distraction, she sought out people selling items in her local Pennysaver, interviewing and photographing them and their objects. These interviews were performed last season at Symphony Space in New York City, with Miranda July playing herself, and the actors Tom Bloom, Mia Dillon, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Adrian Martinez, Olga Merediz and Tom Nelis playing the interesting strangers July met through the classifieds. The items for sale—Care Bears and old leather jackets and photograph albums—act as keys, unlocking each person’s history. And like that wall of snow globes, every object represents an adventure, carried from another part of the world to its exact location, where it seems to gain its true meaning, like a priceless artifact in a museum. So tune in this week, and take a closer look at the tchotchkes gathering dust around you. They may be revealing more than you think. The Selected Shorts site is still out of service, but you can listen in at WNYC or your local public radio station.


  1. The Selected Shorts series is such an inspiring program, every week after listening I run to a blank page and attempt to write anything near as wonderful as the new tales I’ve just been gifted. I only just found your site Hannah, when I was trying to find out more about the man and woman introducing these magnificent works. I always wish that you two talked more about the stories together, what you thought they meant, and so I was thrilled to find your site. Thank you so much for all your insight, you always sound as though you are on the verge of laughter and your pure enjoyment of great stories is infectious.

    1. What a lovely message, Joel. Thanks for writing in. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the program.

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