The History of Literature #338 – Finding Yourself in Hollywood (with Meg Tilly)

Jacke talks to actress and novelist Meg Tilly about her unusual childhood, her life as a ballet dancer and Hollywood star, and her current life writing thrillers in the peaceful Pacific Northwest.

THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is the pulse-pounding story of a brave woman who finds herself falling for a big-shot film director while trying to stay one step ahead of the man who will do anything to find her.

Meg Tilly may be best known for her acclaimed Golden Globe-winning performance in the movie Agnes of God. Other screen credits include The Big Chill, Valmont, and, more recently, Bomb Girls and the Netflix movie War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. After publishing six standout young adult and literary women’s fiction novels, the award-winning author/actress decided to write the kind of books she loves to read: romance novels. Tilly has three grown children and resides with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

The History of Literature #337 – Oscar Wilde, Ovid, and the Myth of Narcissus (with A. Natasha Joukovsky)

Debut novelist A. Natasha Joukovsky (The Portrait of a Mirror) joins Jacke for a discussion of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Ovid’s myth of Narcissus, the fascinating power of recursions, and a life lived in the worlds of literature, business, and art.

THE PORTRAIT OF A MIRROR is a stunning reinvention of the myth of Narcissus as a modern novel of manners, about two young, well-heeled couples whose parallel lives intertwine over the course of a summer, by a sharp new voice in fiction.

A. NATASHA JOUKOVSKY holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She spent five years in the art world, working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York before pivoting into management consulting. The Portrait of a Mirror is her debut novel. She lives in Washington, D.C.

In gratitude to Natasha for appearing on The History of Literature Podcast, a donation has been made to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund (lgbtqfund.org).

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #335 – Machado de Assis (with Cláudia Laitano)

Finally! At long last, Jacke responds to years of requests from his Brazilian listeners to take a closer look at Machado de Assis, the novelist whom critic Harold Bloom called simply “a miracle.” In this episode, author and Brazilian friend Claudia Laitano joins Jacke to discuss Machado’s life, works, and legacy. Enjoy!

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #330 – Middlemarch (with Yang Huang)

330 Middlemarch (with Yang Huang)

Yang Huang, author of the new novel My Good Sonjoins Jacke for a discussion of her childhood in China, how censorship restricted her ability to imagine stories, and how George Eliot’s Middlemarch helped her break free from these limitations. We also discuss her work as a novelist and what it’s like to be an Asian American during a period of highly visible anti-Asian sentiment.

YANG HUANG grew up in China and has lived in the United States since 1990. Her novel MY GOOD SON won the University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize. Her linked story collection, MY OLD FAITHFUL, won the Juniper Prize, and her debut novel, LIVING TREASURES, won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal. She works for the University of California, Berkeley and lives in the Bay Area with her family. To learn more about Yang and her writing, visit http://www.yanghuang.com or follow her on Twitter: @yangwrites.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

The History of Literature #303 – The Search for Darcy – Jane Austen, Tom Lefroy, and the World of Pride and Prejudice

303 The Search for Darcy – Jane Austen, Tom Lefroy, and the World of Pride and Prejudice

In our last episode, we examined the evidence of Jane Austen’s 1995-96 dalliance with her “Irish friend,” the gentlemanlike (but impoverished) young law student Tom Lefroy. Intriguingly, she began writing Pride and Prejudice, her classic novel of romance, love, and mixed messages, later that year. Might Tom have been the inspiration for the beloved Mr. Darcy? And might Jane herself have been the model for the even more beloved Elizabeth Bennet? Jacke takes a look at the possible connections, reads several passages from the novel itself, and offers some thoughts on the attempts to find a Darcy-Lizzy relationship somewhere in the real-life example of Tom and Jane.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

On Protecting the Creative Process

Brilliant Reader (and hard-at-work novelist) CH considers our offer to share her first line and responds:

Although I’ve decided not to share my opening sentence here, I’m grateful for your post, Jacke. 18 K-plus words later, I honestly couldn’t remember what my first sentence was. Today was one of those days when I wondered if anything I had written thus far was worthwhile. Thanks to your post, I discovered that at least my first sentence and the paragraph that followed were worth keeping. The rest will have to wait until I’m finished writing and ready to edit from the beginning. Thank you for making me curious enough to look back today, at least for a moment 🙂

Great to hear! Someday I hope to be mentioned in the novel’s acknowledgments, even if it’s just as “…and many others who offered their support along the way.”

Our contest is still open. And let me tell you, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the ones where the novelist calls our special number and reads their first line aloud, or clicks on our webpage that lets you just read it aloud to your computer. (Or the ones where people just read their favorite first lines from their favorite novels ever, which is a separate contest, also still open, and also with a free book giveaway at the end of it.)

Onward and upward, everyone!

Good Luck NaNoWriMoers!

It’s National Novel Writing Month! And once again, I’m astounded by people who hate this project. (Has Laura Miller written her annual screed yet? I can’t wait.) Here’s a post from a while back:

NaNoWriMo: A Full-Throated Defense

What better way to tune up than to pull your favorite book off the shelf, study the first line or two, and enter our contest?

Onward and upward, everyone! Good luck with the writing!

The Fire Alarm (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #30)

firealarm

We were in the middle of a dorm war. Every morning between one and three a.m., a resident of some enemy dorm pulled our fire alarm. Presumably someone from our dorm was doing the same at some dorm across campus.

In this war I was a mere civilian. A pacifist, a bystander, a protestor. And every night I was part of the collateral damage.

I was as young and stupid as anyone else, and I vaguely regretted that I was not out there, scheming, pranking, doing college things. Going to parties, meeting new people, heading out on unplanned road trips, horsing around in creative and astonishing ways. I did none of that, and part of me felt I was missing something important.

Frankly I was barely surviving at this place, and I was on the verge of losing my academic scholarship. Pranks were a luxury I could not afford.

And so after ten days of dragging myself out of bed, alarm horns blaring in my ear, I had had enough. Dorm wars? Not for me. I was one of the ones who demanded some action from the administration, which started with an angry meeting with our resident head, Brian.

Brian was a PhD student with a Dutch wife, a beard, and a baby, all of which impressed me. Brian was known as a hands-off resident head who didn’t care about the students experimenting with illegal substances as long as they did it in their rooms and kept the doors closed. (“I”m not a policeman,” was his resident-head mantra.)

We didn’t expect answers from Brian. Brian brought in the director of campus security, who gave us no answers either. Taking the issue seriously, measures were being taken, perpetrators would be brought to justice, penalty would be swift and severe, anyone with any information blah blah blah.

And then, on the eleventh morning, as we groaned and cursed and dragged ourselves out of bed for yet another two a.m. trip to the night streets of Chicago, a thought jumped into my head. Not even a thought. An impulse. But one with a whole wave of thoughts behind it.

The alarm was already going, the fire truck was on its way. Students were already walking out the exits. There was an alarm in our lobby. It was unpulled. And that was my thought:

I should pull it.

What compelled me to think of such a thing? In a strange way I saw it as my reward. Hadn’t I gotten up every morning for ten days straight?

A reward? Let me explain. Continue reading

The Cladogram (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #27)

cladogram

I was a young father raising a toddler in New York City. I was also a broke, miserable student buried under an avalanche of student loans. In my filthy, sleep-deprived condition I suddenly remembered Thomas Hobbes’s description of life, which I’d read years earlier. What was the line? Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and…something else. Awful? Horrendous? Ridiculously terrible? Whatever. It all fit.

“Hobbes?” my wife said, shaking her head like someone watching a child board a roller coaster that will be too much for him. “Now you’ve got that in your head?” Continue reading

The Wayward Joke (A Jacke Wilson Objectino)

Yesterday was fun! Let’s try another Objectino!*

Dinnertime. An earnest seven-year-old is attempting to tell a joke:

BOY: Okay. Two cannibals are eating a clown. What does one cannibal say to the other?
BOY’S MOTHER: I don’t know, what?
BOY: “Does this taste funny?”
BOY’S MOTHER: Why are two cannonballs eating a clown?


Continue reading