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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Writers Laughing: Carson McCullers

Not all cafes are sad, apparently!

carson-mccullers

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Writers Laughing: Philip Roth

Not my favorite author, but it’s still nice to see him young and full of pep:

Philip Roth

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100 Objects Special: Back to School Week!

Summer’s almost over! Back to school time! This year I thought I’d celebrate the week with a tribute to all hardworking teachers and their achingly confused students…

Jacke Wilson’s Top 5 Stories Celebrating Teachers

Object #7 – The Keyboard*

I started on “Three Blind Mice.” I stopped halfway through. For some reason it sounded terrible.

“There must be something wrong with the piano,” I said.

Miss Steiner reached forward and for a second I thought she might choke me. Instead she seized her clipboard and flung it halfway across the room. It bounced off the top of a kettle drum.

“THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE PIANO,” she shouted. “IT’S YOU—YOU CAN’T PLAY!”  Read the whole story

Object #10 – The Spitwad

In other classes, the teachers released this energy with a few little quips now and then, letting the students laugh and tease and push back, so the air would clear and the business of learning could begin. It was like the quick open-and-shut of a pressure valve.

Not in Mr. Ward’s class. In Mr. Ward’s class it was all pressure, no valve. For months. Something had to give.

Which brings me to the glorious day when Mr. Ward told a joke. Well, sort of a joke… Read the whole story

Object #14 – The Bass Guitar

I was in a band with my son. A real band. A rock band. Who knew where this would lead? His younger brother liked to bang on things and claimed his favorite instrument was the drum. His mother had a beautiful voice. We wouldn’t be Van Halen or anything, of course. But maybe a few local gigs…? Not now, but maybe in a few years…? Read the whole story

Object #15 – The Coffepot

I had not realized how much courage this was going to require. Ms. Laporte, who was sitting in a student desk at the center of the room, reading words one at a time out of a notebook she kept locked in her desk, was an imposing figure in normal times. When running a bee, she took her intensity to a new level. Her straight black hair was pulled off her forehead and secured in a tight bun, exposing her forehead, which was lined with the permanent anger she kept just below the surface at all times. Read the whole story

Object #23 – The Passage

It was left to the wise professor to provide the comment that took me into a whole new world of literary possibility. Not, in other words, literature as what-have-you-read-I’ve read-that-too. Not lists and check boxes. Something else. Read the whole story

*The Keyboard comes with a special followup, in which I hear from an old friend whose artistic father memorialized the music teacher in a fantastic painting.

Onward and upward, everyone!

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Writers Laughing: Seamus Heaney

Still working up the next Object. In the meantime, let’s enjoy a bit of mirth with the great Seamus Heaney, caught here in the act of extreme laughing:

Heaney2

That’s the kind of raw exuberance that makes his translation of Beowulf so good! Here’s a more natural one:

Seamus-Heaney-1

And here’s one with a special guest star… Continue reading

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