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!