Back to School! Causing a Metaphysical Riot Somewhere Between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Nirvana’s Nevermind

We start with a quote:

I was starting to believe in the power of this thing, not as a talisman but as a phenomenon. It had to mean something that it – and I – had generated so much consternation. I represented something. To some I was a testament to discipline, to conviction, to inner strength. To others I was a fool who needed to be saved. To many I was both. And to a few I became a symbol of something horrible, something wrong with the world, or humanity; I needed to be exposed as a fraud. Whatever I represented, the principle on which I stood, needed to be expunged.

I started receiving threats. Violence seemed real. Would I die for this?  Object #18 – The Monopoly Game Piece

That’s right! It’s another back-to-school week! Last week we celebrated teachers (when we weren’t celebrating awesome princess ninjas or writers laughing or, um, ourselves. This week I’m running a special celebration of what it means to be a student. Or what it meant for me.

Today’s story: the ever popular story about the Monopoly Game Piece.In which a simple refusal (hello, Bartleby!) splits a high school down the middle. Into the world of believers and unbelievers. And finally, to an encounter with an actual religion, and the way it all circled back on me.

So put on your jeans-and-sweatshirt, pop in some Van Halen, and tape a few Sports Illustrated pictures to the inside of your locker door (if you haven’t forgotten the combo – d’oh!). And here…we…go…!

A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #18 – The Monopoly Game Piece

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Writers Laughing: W.E.B. DuBois

Happy Labor Day! This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. But I’ll take a writer laughing no matter the circumstances.

Du_Bois-umassamherst

Maybe “historical curiosities” needs to be another subcategory. I guess Mao counts as a writer, too – I was once on cruise ship that had a library with Marx, Engels, volumes of Mao’s poetry, and no other books.

 

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The Awesome Princess Ninja!

Whoa. I know I sent you over to the Awesome Blog yesterday (after the purveyor of Awesomeness was kind enough to include me in her roundup), but I want to make sure you’ve all had a chance to meet the Princess Ninja.

Here she is! (And really, what more do you need to see than this to know what a treat you’re in for?)

Created by Amanda Moscou and Antonio Papaleo, the Princess Ninja is so delightful I had to hop over to Amazon to load up my cart. Four copies for my nieces and nephews? Five? Or just go ahead and get ten…?

And guess what? It’s not there! Come on, publishers! Why are you not snapping this up and bringing it to the masses? I mean, just look at this. Here she is saving the prince:

 

My boys would go for this, and they’re a tough sell on anything to do with princesses (alas – we tried, we tried). If I had girls? They’d probably be the Princess Ninja for Halloween. Every year.

Actually, forget Amazon – why is this not a show? This would be better than anything we watch (though I do have a soft spot for The Regular Show).

Ah well, in the meantime, we are lucky to be able to read three Princess Nina Tales at the Princess Ninja website. Thanks, Internet! (And of course, thanks to the very talented Amanda Moscou and Antonio Papaleo. More soon, please! It’s wonderful!)

Image credits: Amanda Moscou and Antonio Papaleo at http://princess-ninja.blogspot.co.uk/

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All Sorts of Grateful

The Overseer of the Awesomeness

Wow! Another great day here on the Jacke Blog. Wonderful Reader A.M., curator of the All Sorts of Awesome blog, has included me in her Super Awesome Awesomeness roundup. I’m flattered! And so pleased to hear what she’s been enjoying:

And now, the Super Awesome Awesomeness.

JACKE WILSON! Guys you guys, you have to read his 100 Objects. You have to. They are amazingly well written fictional prose pieces, a series of essays called A History of Jacke in 100 Objects. They. are. awesome.

Thank you!

She singles out a few of the Objects for praise:

His description of the music teacher in this one? Spot on. This one had a really intriguing twist at the end and this one I stayed up reading well after I’d meant to go to bed.

I haven’t read all of his 100 Objects (and he’s nowhere near the 100 mark yet) but every single one that I’ve read has been gripping and insightful.

This is incredibly generous and flattering – my heart is bursting with pride. The little objects! They’re like children to me. I’m proud on their behalf.

The post continues:

I didn’t even realize at first that his work was fiction–the characters and situations he conjures up are interesting and believable: he can make even the most far-fetched moments seem plausible.

Okay, I have to hold back, because I’m practically quoting the whole thing. It’s such a fantastic review I can’t help myself. I’ll stop there. But please go visit the post and the rest of her site too – there is a lot of super awesome awesomeness going on! One last excerpt:

His storytelling ability is jealousy inducing–it reads effortlessly, the flow of dialogue and descriptions and interior monologues and back-stories all flowing together into a very worthwhile read. Nothing feels forced.

I’ve been fortunate with reviews of my books, but it’s nice to see the blog get some love too.  My thanks to the All Sorts of Awesome blog, which has made my day a Super Awesome one indeed. And I’ll be checking it out frequently – we need more of this high-spirited, positive energy to keep us going! Onward and upward, people!

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Writers Laughing: Sandra Cisneros

I know, I know. I hear you! Where’s the content, Jacke? Give us some thoughts about studying abroad. Or your argument for a new translation of Dante. Or tell us all about your dream bookstore. Remember when you pitted two classic novellas against one another in a literary death match? Those were heady days!

Or what about some Objects? You have 75 to go! Get cracking, buddy!

You’re right, you’re right. I’ve spent too much time digging up pictures of writers laughing. Enough is enough! I’ll stop now. Except…

sandra-cisneros-laughing

 

…these are just too much fun!

Image Credit: Deborah Miranda

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Writers Laughing: Gabriel García Márquez

Another big smiler – like Alice Munro, there are a million pictures of him smiling. And smiling broadly, with his eyes crinkly and his mouth slightly open. But laughing? You just know he had to laugh all the time – but whether those were captured in the pre-cell phone era is another question.

I found a few where he and Fidel are laughing, which I decided not to use. Instead, I’ll go with this one:

Gabriel García Márquez 1

And then this one, which I love (“writers laughing with small children” is a good sub-category):

Gabriel-García-Márquez-GM-Family-Archive

Staged for a photographer? Possibly. Do I care? Not at all!

Image credits: GM Family Archive

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A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #25: The Equation

My mother appeared in the doorway and my stomach fell. What was she doing at my algebra class? In my high school, in the middle of the day? This was exciting—it was my mother, she was here to see me—but it also felt dangerous.

Years earlier, my best friend’s mother had shown up one day wearing the same expression. We had been in gym class then, playing bombardment. From across the gym, I watched my friend jog toward his mother and disappear around the corner of the stage. Where was he headed? Somewhere cool?

No. He missed school for the next four days. Our teacher mentioned that Bobby, sadly, was attending his grandfather’s funeral.

And now this: I was in the ninth grade, my mother was here, it was me who walked out of the normal world and into the unknown. In the hallway she confirmed my worst fear. My grandfather had had a heart attack. She and my father were on their way to the hospital. I should go home by myself and wait there until they got back.

“Will he be okay?” I asked.

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