Today’s Comment of the Week: A Former Student Weighs In

Wonderful Reader L writes:

I never thought I’d peruse a blog & “cry”. This piece is brilliantly & pleasantly descriptive, literally reaching out to the reader…and perhaps this is a sign I should make my mother proud and practice on the piano she gave me so many years ago…thank you.

What can I say? You’re welcome doesn’t begin to cover it.

Running this blog has been an amazing experience. I spent so many years writing and writing and writing – all for no one. I met with rejection at every turn. And throughout it all I thought there just had to be readers out there. Maybe not a billion, or a million, or a thousand, or a hundred.

Maybe there were not even ten. Maybe there was just one.

I kept going. Doing my best. Hoping to connect.

And now, when I hear that I have, I’m nearly overwhelmed with appreciation. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt this had I had an audience at the beginning, I don’t know. Maybe I’d be jaded, and take readerly appreciation as my rightful due. Maybe there was a reason why this all took so long. Maybe I wouldn’t feel anything this powerful. All I know is I sure as hell feel it now.

Here’s the story that the reader responded to. And yes, as many of you have probably guessed (and may have already read and commented upon yourself), it’s Object #7 – The Keyboard. Definitely among the top three or four in terms of reader feedback, I think, right up there with #3 – The Blood Cake and #10 – The Burger Car. But I love all my children. (Except maybe #9 – The Intersection. That one was too hard – I revised it too much and lost something in the process. I overparented. But I guess parents can be disappointed and still love.)

This Object also had the special followup post, which is not to be missed.

None of this would have been possible without the blog. I’m tempted to retire. It’s hard to imagine I’ll have more fun than I’ve had these past twelve months or so.

But fear not, loyal readers! I’ve saved a few ringers for the next 25. I’m hoping to get some illustrations going too. And the plan is to bring these Objects out in different formats to make them easier for people to read (in print and e-versions). And to revamp the website. So many projects! But that’s what autumn is for…

My thanks to all my readers and generous commenters who have made this experience so enjoyable. And of course, to reader L, who moved me more than I can express. Onward and upward, people!

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

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!

The Neuroscience of Lists

Ryan Shmeizer gives us 10 reasons why lists are so tough to resist:

In the end, we have what Charlie Munger calls the Lollapalooza Effect: when multiple psychological biases combine together in the same direction, the effect is compounded on a tremendous scale. It’s no wonder that Buzzfeed’s list of it’s 50 Best Posts of 2013 contains 37 posts that are themselves list. So don’t feel bad when your time drains into the black abyss of Buzzfeed, Medium Top 10 Lists, EliteDaily and 9GAG. You never stood a chance.

I didn’t give anything away by focusing on the end. The article itself is a pretty impressive list (yes, it’s of course presented as a list). I’d have thought of some of these (appeal to authority, false time constraints), but I’d have been hard-pressed to come up with all of them (dopamine neurons, memory palace).

I learned a lot from reading the article. The only thing you really need to know, though, is that People Love Lists.

Now who would be so craven as to appeal to this bias?

Really, who?

Onward and upward with a list (of sorts) from the great Harlan Pepper: