Madame Cupcake is young and vivacious. She has a lot to give. My wife and I are getting old and we’re hoping to find a new home for Madame. For the last 10 years Madame has lived in our house on Charlotte Street in Kansas City. She was fabricated by a student at the Kansas City Art Institute and purchased at one of the school’s famous End-Of-Semester exhibitions. My nickname for my wife is Cupcake, and I thought Madame would be a fun present for her.
I was wrong. But it took me awhile to accept that. I thought my Cupcake would eventually come around and like Madame Cupcake as much as I did.  I was wrong again. Which is kind of surprising and kind of not. We have a great marriage, but I have a horrible track record at gift giving. Nothing is perfect, especially me.
I came to accept that Madame Cupcake gave Cupcake no pleasure, so she has been relegated to an upstairs room, formerly a guestroom, that I call The Memory Temple. My wife calls it The Hoarder Room. Most everything else in The Memory Temple is paper containing info for a book I’m writing about Art in Kansas City.
Madame Cupcake hasn’t complained, but I feel she could do more with her smile and personality. I fear she languishes. I cannot explain the stain on the back of her head, but who among us is perfect? Not me. My poor gift-giving skills prove that.
Witness the power of witnessing at the Topsham Fair this year!
I am giving up my youth. I bought “The Annotated Sherlock Holmes” in my early teens, in eighth or ninth grade, as a personal reward for my first published story, which was essentially about my zealous interest in Sherlock Holmes.... It’s been on every bookshelf and has survived every purge of my possessions, and both of my divorces. I’ve kept it longer than any other possession in my life other than a few photos. It’s time to give it up. I’ve been hanging on to my past and the ideals of my youth far too long. I will turn 57 this year, the age of my father when he died. Giving up this book feels like the right thing to do at the right time....
 I have for offer a blue khata cloth from Tibet.   You will see people bow and give the cloth to respected spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama or leave them on statues of the buddha.  This cloth is blue to represent the sky.  It was given to me by a close friend as I prepared to leave San Francisco in 2010, which had been my home for five years, to move across the country to Boston to attend graduate school.  I have searched for an appropriate way to pass this offering on to another and now is the moment.
This photo was a gift from my college boyfriend. While in college we spent a lot of time in the mountains, and both had had come out of difficult home lives. After breaking up, we continued to rock climb and backpack together. At one point I taught him to sail, and at another time I taught him and his girlfriend to ride horseback, and I sang at his wedding more than a decade ago. I don't love the photo artistically, but it's a reminder to me of his raw emotion and connection to nature. ...
Doll House Eulogy  In the back room of my Dad’s house there is a dollhouse. It hasn’t been touched in years except to move it from the front room. It’s frozen in time.
Games have been set up and left to stall upstairs in the nursery, a panther is mauling one of the children. The mother dolls (all single divorcees due to the lack of father dolls) don’t seem to care.
In the kitchen, plates of glazed-pottery food are left uneaten and untouched except for gathering dust.
Miniature bottles of soap and shampoo line the edges of a dry sink in a bathroom with a floor of scrabble tiles. No one has “bathed” in years.
In my real house, we’re about to downsize and maybe move. The dollhouse won’t remain forgotten for long.
We’ll sort through the tiny wooden furniture, the collection of clay statues that came with my Mother’s tea, the scraps of cloth serving as rugs, and all the rest of the hoarded stuff. We’ll send it to Goodwill and the dump and the hands of other children, dispersing the contents around the world.
Maybe by the time you’re reading this, it will already have happened.
Maybe not.
This glass bottle of sea glass and painting of lupines were gathered and bought with an ex boyfriend.  They clutter my life in my small home with my perfect husband and they don¹t bring me joy anymore.  I would love to pass them on to someone if it would make them smile.
I gave this set of New Yorker
But when I opened them up, I was shocked that the
I don't remember if, ten years ago, I realized what was on the plates and didn't care/didn't think it mattered, or didn't realize these plates were part of this culture of celebrating wine as sophisticated and therefore perfectly normal and desirable. In hindsight I feel like I enabled my mother.
And, darn it, they're also really funny. It's perverse.

Madame Cupcake is young and vivacious. She has a lot to give. My wife and I are getting old and we’re hoping to find a new home for Madame. For the last 10 years Madame has lived in our house on Charlotte Street in Kansas City. She was fabricated by a student at the Kansas City Art Institute and purchased at one of the school’s famous End-Of-Semester exhibitions. My nickname for my wife is Cupcake, and I thought Madame would be a fun present for her. I was wrong. But it took me awhile to accept that. I thought my Cupcake would eventually come around and like Madame Cupcake as much as I did.  I was wrong again. Which is kind of surprising and kind of not. We have a great marriage, but I have a horrible track record at gift giving. Nothing is perfect, especially me. I came to accept that Madame Cupcake gave Cupcake no pleasure, so she has been relegated to an upstairs room, formerly a guestroom, that I call The Memory Temple. My wife calls it The Hoarder Room. Most everything else in The Memory Temple is paper containing info for a book I’m writing about Art in Kansas City. Madame Cupcake hasn’t complained, but I feel she could do more with her smile and personality. I fear she languishes. I cannot explain the stain on the back of her head, but who among us is perfect? Not me. My poor gift-giving skills prove that. Witness the power of witnessing at the Topsham Fair this year! I am giving up my youth. I bought “The Annotated Sherlock Holmes” in my early teens, in eighth or ninth grade, as a personal reward for my first published story, which was essentially about my zealous interest in Sherlock Holmes.... It’s been on every bookshelf and has survived every purge of my possessions, and both of my divorces. I’ve kept it longer than any other possession in my life other than a few photos. It’s time to give it up. I’ve been hanging on to my past and the ideals of my youth far too long. I will turn 57 this year, the age of my father when he died. Giving up this book feels like the right thing to do at the right time....  I have for offer a blue khata cloth from Tibet.   You will see people bow and give the cloth to respected spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama or leave them on statues of the buddha.  This cloth is blue to represent the sky.  It was given to me by a close friend as I prepared to leave San Francisco in 2010, which had been my home for five years, to move across the country to Boston to attend graduate school.  I have searched for an appropriate way to pass this offering on to another and now is the moment. This photo was a gift from my college boyfriend. While in college we spent a lot of time in the mountains, and both had had come out of difficult home lives. After breaking up, we continued to rock climb and backpack together. At one point I taught him to sail, and at another time I taught him and his girlfriend to ride horseback, and I sang at his wedding more than a decade ago. I don't love the photo artistically, but it's a reminder to me of his raw emotion and connection to nature. ... Doll House Eulogy  In the back room of my Dad’s house there is a dollhouse. It hasn’t been touched in years except to move it from the front room. It’s frozen in time. Games have been set up and left to stall upstairs in the nursery, a panther is mauling one of the children. The mother dolls (all single divorcees due to the lack of father dolls) don’t seem to care. In the kitchen, plates of glazed-pottery food are left uneaten and untouched except for gathering dust. Miniature bottles of soap and shampoo line the edges of a dry sink in a bathroom with a floor of scrabble tiles. No one has “bathed” in years. In my real house, we’re about to downsize and maybe move. The dollhouse won’t remain forgotten for long. We’ll sort through the tiny wooden furniture, the collection of clay statues that came with my Mother’s tea, the scraps of cloth serving as rugs, and all the rest of the hoarded stuff. We’ll send it to Goodwill and the dump and the hands of other children, dispersing the contents around the world. Maybe by the time you’re reading this, it will already have happened. Maybe not. This glass bottle of sea glass and painting of lupines were gathered and bought with an ex boyfriend.  They clutter my life in my small home with my perfect husband and they don¹t bring me joy anymore.  I would love to pass them on to someone if it would make them smile. I gave this set of New Yorker But when I opened them up, I was shocked that the I don't remember if, ten years ago, I realized what was on the plates and didn't care/didn't think it mattered, or didn't realize these plates were part of this culture of celebrating wine as sophisticated and therefore perfectly normal and desirable. In hindsight I feel like I enabled my mother. And, darn it, they're also really funny. It's perverse.

Concept and Press coverage

My Emotional Value Auctions harness the power of witnessing to facilitate release and highlight the generosity inherent in receiving. No money changes hands. "Bids" take the form of written statements of expression that are given to the objects' owners at the end of the auction so they can see if someone's written message moves them to bestow it on them. Authentic expression and public vulnerability are rewarded. To read Nicholas Shroeder's thoughtful take on this event in the Bangor Daily News, click here. 

Using Format