This Is It! The Top Post of the Year!

This is it! We’ve come to the end of the Blogiversary Extravaganza, in which I’ve counted down the top posts of the year. Object, object, object, object. Ho-hum. I even had to throw in a few honorable mentions just to keep things interesting. (Hello, Soho Press, John Lennon’s Writing Wisdom, and the irrepressible Charlotte Brontë, dumping her hopeless suitor!)

This countdown has been fun, people! I’ve indulged myself by smothering myself in glory. And you were right there with me! Although you haven’t enjoyed it nearly as much as you have the countdown to the absolute worst posts of the year. Ah, people. I don’t know what to say. What is it about humans that love disaster so much? Must it be that way? Does it have to be the case that recalling the posts that blew up in my face has been more popular than traipsing back through the hits? Something wrong about that. Twisted. Perverse. (And I would do the exact same thing, of course.)

But now it’s time. The top post of the year. I hinted that it might be The Burger Car (still one of the most popular endings), or The Monster (which prompted perhaps the best comment of the year), or maybe The Spitwad (underappreciated but well loved in a sneaky way). The Sweater caught fire for a while and made a late run. The Mugs did their slice-of-life thing. Fell short anyway. Of course. They are The Mugs. That is their nature.

Only one Object could be at the top. And this one earned its way there. That’s right… the story about the time I shared an office with Jerry Seinfeld… the real Jerry Seinfeld… and if you remember the story you’ll know what that means…

Continue reading

Writers Laughing: Norman Mailer and Truman Capote

Another curious one. Knowing these two, my guess is that they despised each other 99.99 percent of the time.

But in that other .01 percent …


…big laughs for everyone!

Image credit:

Best Posts of the Year: The Honorable Mentions

Image Credit: Astrid Kircherr, courtesy of Vanity Fair

Blogiversary Week is about to conclude with the top post of the year. (In case you missed it, the worst posts of the year have already been spotlighted. Check out The Case for Something I Don’t Care About, “Pen Reviews”, The Skirt-Chasing PoobahHaiku Nothingness, and Company Does Not Love Misery. Or don’t!)

I’ve hinted that the top post will be one of my Object stories, as were numbers five, four, three, and two. And guess what? It is! I’ll be revealing it soon.

It’s not a surprise that the Objects dominated the field this year. Nothing else really came close.

But today I wanted to highlight the few posts that almost cracked into Object territory. We do more than just crank out Objects here at the Jacke blog! And here were some of the most well-received Non-Objects of the year:

Continue reading

Writers Laughing: Sherman Alexie

So excellent…


Image Credit: Rob Casey via Blue Mesa Review

Here It Is! The Worst Post of the Year

Ah yes, the Blogiversary. One year of bringing you the hits. And the catastrophic failures. Our Countdown of Ugh concludes with the worst post of the year, as measured by your complete indifference. Nothing on this site received less love than this one. It came to you, hat in hand, a humble post seeking attention. And the Internet looked elsewhere. The Internet yawned.

What was it? Continue reading

Writers Laughing: Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore laughing? I doubt it! She makes other people laugh, with her caustic observations and acid puns. I doubt you’d ever see much more from her than a bitter half-smile, a knowing eyebrow lift, maybe an amused and slightly sinister glint in her eyes…


Oh no. Oh no no no no no. What are you doing, guy in plaid jacket? Approaching her while she’s signing books? Leaning over to say something? Back off, Mr. Plaid! Haven’t you read her work? Don’t you know who you’re dealing with? She eats guys like you for breakfast… so wait… what are you… Continue reading

Review of The Race: “Absolutely Fascinating”

People! It’s another great day here at the Jacke Blog. We’ve had a few of those lately – I have truly been fortunate to receive such positive reviews and feedback. I’m simply overwhelmed by it all.  Thank you, readers!

All right. Enough, enough. The good news for those of you who enjoy the more miserable Jacke, is that I have to force myself to announce my worst post of the year. That’s right. Number one is around the corner (or should I say just over the cliff’s edge?).

Also the best. I’m counting those down too as part of the Blogiversary celebration. Number one is on the way!

I do notice that my countdown of the worst blog posts of the year are much more popular than my links to the best. Ha ha! Misery loves company. And Jacke. Especially when he’s flaming out with his attempt to write pen reviews. Or stirring up the Haiku mafia.

But today’s not miserable, because I received a very flattering review of my book The Race from the excellent Jennifer Sahmoun over at her site A Line From a Book. If you haven’t checked her out, you should head over there soon.

I’ve talked before about all my failure, my years of zero audience, my ups and downs, all the agony and doom. I won’t rehearse that little speech again. But I do want to frame my gratitude: it is such a wonderful feeling to have connected with a reviewer like Jennifer. Storytelling is magic!

And The Race is a story about failure! The failure of a human, the failure of a politician, the failure of the system that creates people like him, and the failure of an observer who cannot help and cannot stop watching. Jennifer gets at this in her review. Let’s take a look:

I found this book absolutely fascinating. There was no crime to investigate, no thrills, no action scenes, no romantic scenes just a compelling story that is a journey through what motivates a man to do what he does.

Amazing! I love this. The power of story!

The story is told by a lawyer who is asked by a disgraced politician to help him organize his biography. Then the politician decides he wants to run for office again. He has no support from the media, no support from his party and especially no support from his family. Why? Because while serving as the governor of the state of Wisconsin he had an affair and disappeared for a few days to be with his mistress.

Concise summaries are hard to pull off. This really nails it. A side note: I think it’s especially difficult for an author to summarize his or her own work. We should all adopt the exchange that my wife and I worked out long ago: I update her resume, and she updates mine. It’s a much easier task when someone has some built-in distance. Back to the review!

Only in this story, his wife does not stand by her husband on stage or anywhere else and neither do his children. People turn away when he walks down the street. And yet he continues until the last moment to be optimistic that the voters will come through for him. Our storyteller is with the candidate through every step of his campaign because he has no manager and no staff.

Yes! The perfect summary continues. And it makes me feel that pull all over again. The Governor is such a pathetic creature. But don’t feel sorry for him, reader. He’s too elliptical for that. His personal will deflect your pity!

I couldn’t help but feel that there is a lot of truth in the author’s portrayal of the candidate that confirms my personal opinion that some of them seem to live in a bit of a fantasy world.


I also found the author’s writing style to be very approachable, like a friend relating a story.

I love this. Just love it. EXACTLY the style I was trying to achieve.

Bottom line, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to everyone. And since it’s a novella and doesn’t require a huge commitment of time, those of you that might not typically pick up a book in this genre should really give it a try. I hope to read more from Jacke Wilson in the near future.

And I would be honored to have you as a reader. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

You can read the review in its natural home at A Line From A Book. Or buy the book at Amazon or other bookstores. My thanks again to Jennifer for really nailing this review. If you’re interested in a free review copy of one of my books, let me know! Onward and upward!

Writers Laughing: Henry Miller


Image credit:

Back to the Best! Most Popular Post of the Year #2

Okay, enough of the march (slide? plummet?) to the worst posts of the year… let’s get back to our climb to the top. So far the entries making the top five in the most popular posts have all been taken from the Objects series (the Coffepot, the Monopoly Game Piece, and the Keyboard). The suspense, if there has been any, comes from wondering which Objects have trumped the others.

We’re up to number two. And…it’s another Object!  In fact, it’s the very first one I did. Object #1: The Padlock.

I could talk about how important this one has been to me. It freed me to talk about my past in a way I haven’t always done in my fiction. I was always a nostalgic person, but for most of my writing life I was young and thought I needed to say a little something about the world. Now, world-weary, I feel as if I’ve earned my trips back to the past. I’m sorry, Wisconsin. You’re on the list now.

All four of the top posts thus far have been set there. The Coffepot (eighth grade), the Monopoly Game Piece (high school), the Keyboard (fourth grade), and now the Padlock (high school). What can I tell you? Wisconsin is specific. My hometown is extremely specific. But childhood and adolescence are universal.

And I don’t exactly consider these to be about childhood. In all of these stories I reimagine the events from the adult’s perspective, if not in the stories themselves, then at least in my understanding of them. I heard once that the Simpsons writers realized sometime during the first season that basing shows on Bart was going to run out of storylines  – but episodes about Homer were limitless. And that makes sense. Kids have an intense little window on the world, but adults have it all: every emotion, every experience, every up, every down that life has to offer.

So that’s what I tried to get at in The Padlock: the coaches, not just the players. And in the others, I think you’ll see the same thing. It’s the adults in the room (even if the “room” is “my memory”): that’s what fires the imagination.

I owe this to The Padlock.

Oh sure, it meanders a little at the beginning. A good diversion, I hope. But it’s not a seize-you-by-the-lapels opening. I felt like I had to get a lot in. I would revise it now, and maybe I will for the next iteration (a book of Objects).

Or maybe I won’t. I had to get through certain things: who my friend’s father was (Fred Sanford) and who I wanted to be (David Letterman) contrasted with how I actually turned out (Walter White).

I was finding my voice.

And an audience. I posted The Padlock halfway through April. Traffic spiked. It’s gone up every month since then – over a thousand percent since that first Object was posted. (The other 24 Objects have no doubt done their part.)

I’m truly grateful for each and every reader, and for everyone who’s reached out to me through email or in the comments section. I’ve tried to pack these stories with emotion and insight and surprise and entertainment. I’m always glad to hear when people have enjoyed them. It makes the Internet (and the world) seem a little less overwhelming.

Okay, enough soppiness. I’ll be back soon with the worst post of the year. (Oddly, those are proving to be more popular than the best posts of the year. People like blogging wreckage! And I deliver!) But for now, with my gratitude and affection, here is

The Jacke Wilson Blogiversary Countdown

Most Popular Post of the Year #2

A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #1: The Padlock

I couldn’t leave—I couldn’t take my eyes off our mountainous, half-drunk, angry coach, unable to complete what seemed like a ridiculously simple task. How could this little piece of metal stand up to this enormous tool and this man—this Paul Bunyan of a man, all two hundred and seventy-five pounds of him, whose whole life was football and wrestling and bar fights and loading trucks and lowering engine blocks into muscle cars and crushing beer cans against his forehead and clenching his eyes against the dark memories of combat—how could such a man be defeated by such a simple thing?

He put the bolt cutter between his knees and spit on his hands. Read the entire story

The suspense continues! Which Object will win? The Spitwad? The Sign? The Burger Car? The Bass Guitar? Or will something besides an Object top the list? Maybe a Writer Laughing? Alice? Or Flannery? Stay tuned!

Avert Your Eyes! Worst Post of the Year #2

Color me stumped. I have no idea why this one was ignored by you, the readers. Sure, it might not be to everyone’s taste. But the second lowest post of the entire YEAR? Huh? Why? There’s some good content in this post! And there it sits, unloved, unwanted. The Internet has passed it by, again and again and again.

I just don’t get it.

Unlike the mealymouthed case against the case for CodeX, or the agonizingly misguided pen reviews, this one is – dare I say it! – not all that different from most of my other posts!

Is it because of the screaming headline? Maybe I pushed too far? Okay, fine, perhaps substandard haiku in America does not exactly rise to the level of a “national nightmare.” The point is arguable! Reasonable people may differ!

Or was it the tone and the timing? Maybe because on December 20, the height of the holiday season, people did not want to read a screed against “Captain Good-at-Counting” and “Suzie Number-Game.” What can I say? I thought they might!

And they did not. You, reader, did not care one bit.

You not-cared enough to make this the second least popular post on the site. Of the entire year!

Except…now that I check the stats, I see one thing. One ray of hope. Sure, the post barely garnered any traffic. But it did get a like. Exactly one like. From reader Jeff S., who’s been there from the blog’s earliest days, supporting and commenting. I haven’t done a check on this, but I have a feeling there are many posts in the archive with one like from Jeff S. Maybe that’s why I kept going! Jeff S. liked it – which made me think there must be others who would eventually turn up too. He was the first guest at the party, smiling and waiting as I unfolded the card table and strung up the decorations and set out the bowls of chips. Thank you, Jeff S.! I hope you’re still having fun now that the place has gotten a little more crowded!

So here’s the post, in all its dismal ineptitude. Avert your eyes, people!

The Jacke Wilson Blogiversary Countdown 

Least-Popular Post #2

National Nightmare Alert: Why Haiku Fails in America

Why, why, why did this fail? I’m happy to hear your theories in the comments, readers. Do you hate haiku? Hate haters of haiku? But I love haiku! I want it to be better! Am I alone in thinking there’s a problem? Am I alone in caring?

Was it the last line – “Let’s let go”? Too subtle? Too demanding? It’s practically my philosophy of life!

Oh, the misery of a post about haiku that has no audience. If a blog post fails in the forest…and there are no observers…