It was during my study-abroad year in Bologna that my friend Roberto and I decided to write a musical. Not just for fun, not just for some school play or party or anything immature like that—no, we were going to be great and famous writers of musicals. Wilson & Benedetti!
And why not us? Roberto had been playing piano for a million years and had perfect pitch. I had just written a poem. We had both been IN musicals. We liked WATCHING them.
This is all it takes, people. Twenty-year-olds studying abroad have boundless optimism. None of it’s earned, of course, but that’s okay. It’s just there.
One problem: all the good subjects had already been taken. Our predecessors had covered everything we could think of. We needed a theme. Needed a setting. Some kind of story. Luckily, as the word guy, I had a brilliant idea:
ME: I’ve come up with an idea for our musical. No one’s ever done it. Brand new!
ROBERTO: Excellent! What is it?
ME: Okay, so I’ve been reading a lot of Simone de Beauvoir. Just finished The Second Sex.
ROBERTO: Um, okay…
ME: And I’ve been reading a lot of Nietzsche. Some interesting combinations there.
ROBERTO: You want to write a…Nietzschean feminist musical?
ME: With bouncy tunes!
It’s embarrassing now to think how excited we were. Embarrassing to think we even tried. But can you blame us? We were twenty years old. TWENTY.
Think of life as a world of doors. When you’re young, you’re told you can open any door. Right? Just find the one you want…and walk right through! They’re all open to you! We tell college graduates that, even though it’s really not true at all. And five-year-olds? Forget it. With five-year-olds we lie and lie and lie. You want to be a movie star? See you on the big screen! An astronaut slash professional baseball player? Godspeed, little one.
For two twenty-year-olds, roaming through Europe, living like carefree kings on Eurorail passes and a stipend, fueled by red wine (legal here! a whole year early!), well, what were going to dream of being? Accountants? Dental hygienists? Of course not! We would be writers of a musical. Naturally. Of course.
We took a picture to commemorate the day we began:
No, that’s not us. That’s Rodgers & Hammerstein. But it captures the spirit of what we thought we were doing. Capture the moment for posterity! Except unlike those two successes, who sat nicely posed by some glossy table with nice lighting, we were perched on the edge of my bed in the apartment I shared with four other Americans and two Italians.
We were not was exactly living the Rodgers & Hammerstein life. Our apartment had two showers, neither of which worked very well. One pumped out scalding-hot water. (“Too much hot water. It’s a problem in Bologna,” the landlord claimed.) The other shower had a clogged drain and a standing foot of water left behind by previous occupants.
What could you do? You had to shower. You could burn your skin. Or you could tell yourself that the water in the tub was soapy and possibly sterile. It’s good to be young and have choices!
I wish I still had the photograph Roberto and I took, because it would show you the cracks in the plaster on the bland, drab, olive wall behind us, and the mustard-colored bedspread. Our greasy hair. I was wearing fake glasses to look smart and lyrical; Roberto wore a beret with a logo of a Swiss canton, which he had not yet learned was not an Italian flag. And we were both grinning like idiots. Who cared about our surroundings? All great writers started out like this! Poverty would inform our art.
And actually I loved that room, even though it was humble to the point of barely being operable as a room. It had a floor, a ceiling, and a bed. A desk, a chair, a window, and an open corner where I could heap the rest of my stuff. Roberto had a similar room across the hall. I was from Wisconsin, he was from West Virginia. We weren’t fussy. What more did we need? What more did we deserve?
And here was the best thing of all: as a bonus, that room had a big thick door frame that supported TWO doors. I have no idea why. I think they may have redone the hallway and added a second door for aesthetic reasons, or perhaps there had been a fire and this was the way they planned to keep us alive. It didn’t matter. It was awesome no matter what. You opened one thick door and found a second thick door standing behind it. It was as if you had never even opened the first one.
The double doors kept out all the noise except for the singing of Jennifer, my roommate from Yale, who aspired to be a soprano and sang arias out her window night and day. Her voice was like a scream and penetrated even the double doors. Other than that, those doors kept things quiet and contained—once they were closed, our dreams could incubate in safety.
Our enthusiasm is humiliating to me now. I tell myself we had no choice. Youth! Open doors! Make way for Wilson and Benedetti!
I can’t remember too much about the musical itself. Roberto wrote a waltz for some reason. Possibly our Nietzschean feminists were hosting a ball(?) Maybe there was some irony involved, somehow.
I also remember one line of a lyric that Roberto especially liked: “Rome for a lack of brave men like us fell.” Again, I have no idea how that could have possibly fit into any reasonable plot. But it inspired Roberto to add a Bolero-style drum beat beneath the chorus. It was exciting.
Rome for a lack of brave men like us fell. Broadway, here we come!
And meanwhile the rich kids in our program had different ideas of success and how to go about seizing it. Something had to give.
Sabrina was one of these people. She was in our program in Italy, though at home she and I went to different universities. And we had nothing in common: she was wealthy, elite, upper-crust, the world of power and privilege, filled with the wayward kids of celebrities. She knew JFK Jr. Also Marlon Brando’s kid, Diana Ross’s kid, a lot of others who were all basically screw-ups who chose Sabrina’s school because the professors didn’t give out grades.
Sabrina’s father was not a celebrity: he was a wealthy businessman from New Jersey who had somewhat shadowy origins. Not the mob, as far as I knew, but something that benefited from his ill temper and willingness to crush everyone who got in his way. (Real estate, maybe? Construction? Something like that.) He’d been married twice and had one daughter, his princess Sabrina. I met him once; he stared at me as if he were about to throw me off the balcony.
I knew exactly what he was thinking. I was not a good match for Sabrina. Not even as a friend, certainly, and definitely not as a boyfriend. Her lover? He’d have shot me dead if he’d thought that was even a possibility.
Luckily he knew his daughter better than that. Sabrina had taste and an appetite for wealth. Sabrina was not going to slum around with the likes of me.
No, our paths, mine and Sabrina’s, were crossing temporarily (it was a small program, we had no choice), but Sabrina, who was very beautiful and wore unimaginably nice clothes, was not from my world. She bragged about how expensive the wine was; I bragged about how cheap I’d gotten mine. She hung out with guys who claimed to have wine cellars with ten thousand bottles. I hung out with Roberto, who had found a store that sold bottles on deep discount because the labels were partially torn off.
And then there was the issue of origins. I was from Wisconsin with a stopover in Chicago. Sabrina, glorious Sabrina, hailed from from New York.
Or at least, that’s what she always said. She was actually from New Jersey. So what, who cared? New Jersey was very close to New York City and we were thousands of miles away. She was basically from there. I saw no reason not to give her credit.
Besides, didn’t I do something similar? At parties I’d say I was from Chicago (not Wisconsin) because it was easiest. It seemed fair because I was going to school there. With Italians, it kept things moving.
ITALIAN PERSON: Where are you from?
ITALIAN PERSON: [blank look]
The two stare awkwardly at each other, then drift apart.
Far better to do it this way:
ITALIAN PERSON: Where are you from?
ITALIAN PERSON [excited]: Chicago! Ah! Al Capone! [makes Tommy gun gesture with both hands] Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat!
The two hug. Arms around each other, they head to the cellar in search of another bottle of red wine.
With Americans it was even worse:
AMERICAN PERSON: Where are you from?
AMERICAN PERSON: Where in Wisconsin?
ME: A small town. You’ve never heard of it.
AMERICAN PERSON: Oh yeah? My [cousin/sibling/close friend] went to school there! I visited him!
ME: It doesn’t matter. I can guarantee that you haven’t heard of it.
AMERICAN PERSON: I might have! I JUST TOLD YOU MY [COUSIN/SIBLING/CLOSE FRIEND] WENT TO SCHOOL THERE!
ME: [Names town]
AMERICAN PERSON: What? I’ve never heard of it.
ME [shrugging]: Why did we just waste our time? I guaranteed it.
AMERICAN PERSON: Is that way up north? I never went way up north. Up by Canada?
ME: It’s thirty miles south of Madison.
AMERICAN PERSON: Wait, what? My [cousin/sibling/close friend] and I drove around there! We road tripped! It must be out of the way. Is it out of the way?
ME [shrugging]: It was always on my way.
That was my origin story: Wisconsin, blank stare. Chicago, excitement, Al Capone (pronounced “Ca-pone-ay,” of course) and rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat. Who cared if I said one or the other? There were other things to talk about. Bottles of wine to drink. Merriment to be had.
And who cared if Sabrina said she was from New York? She could take a twenty-minute bus ride there from her house. That was good enough for me. From what I could tell, the whole tri-state area was basically an extension of the city, the way the planets in the solar system belong to the sun. (It’s the solar system after all.) Certainly she had grown up closer to New York than I had to Chicago, which was a couple of hours away.
Who cared where you were from? What mattered was where you were going.
That was my view, anyway. But for Sabrina, from was everything. For Sabrina, from was going.
And as Roberto was quick to point out, Sabrina didn’t just say “New York” and follow up with “New York area” or “just outside New York City.” No, she specified that she was from Manhattan:
PARTYGOER: Where are you from?
SABRINA: New York City.
PARTYGOER: Ah, cool! I’ve been there! Where in New York City?
PARTYGOEER: Manhattan, wow. That’s awesome.
Sometimes that was enough. Other times people had some knowledge of New York and pressed further:
PARTYGOER: Manhattan, wow. That’s awesome. Where in Manhattan?
SABRINA: Near Columbus Circle.
PARTYGOER: Really. I know that area! What street exactly?
SABRINA [haughtily]: Just across the GW Bridge.
PARTYGOER: Across the…wait, what? That’s not Columbus Circle. That’s not even Manhattan! Across the… you mean you grew up in New Jersey!?
SABRINA [VERY haughtily]: Technically it’s New Jersey. But I can see Manhattan from my house.
Poor Sabrina. From “Manhattan…near Columbus Circle” to “technically New Jersey” was probably about five miles as the crow flies. And yet in her mind, and in the minds of everyone who mattered to her, the two were worlds away. It was the difference between the residents of the castle and the peasants who lived outside the moat, tilling the muck. Close but no princess.
I could see the tensions warring within her. But she was still a very rich peasant girl, from my standpoint. She and all of her friends had all of these gradations of status and wealth that meant nothing to me. And of course, my entire being meant nothing to them. I could not even pretend to be from somewhere they cared about.
Why put up with these snobs? I was fascinated by them, but that only goes so far. Sabrina was gorgeous, which went quite a bit farther, it embarrasses me to admit. She had a winning smile, if by winning you mean the particular sense of “declaring victory.” There was something deeply charismatic about the way she knew what she wanted and her determination to get it.
And of course, we were twenty—having a lot of fun—wine was flowing—parties—good food—it all leads to connections. And odd pairings. It seems normal at the time. Twenty! TWENTY!
Even so it surprised me when she started going out of her way to invite me to everything. I always brought Roberto with me; eventually she started asking him too. And there were always times, at every party, where her insufferable friends had dragged things to a halt, and she would look to Roberto and me to liven things up.
By “liven things up” I mean “make people spend five minutes talking about something besides themselves.” I also mean “no really, do something, guys, everyone here hates everybody else because nobody can say anything without bragging, and it’s ruining my party!”
You might think I’m exaggerating about the insufferableness of the jerks who came through Bologna that year. Am I? You tell me. One guy, an heir with a famous last name, turned up at one of Sabrina’s parties with his pet ferret riding on his shoulder. That’s how he was traveling through Italy. With his FERRET. Still think I’m exaggerating?
Why did Sabrina keep inviting us? At first it seemed like we were there because we spoke English and we gave those richies someone to feel superior to. They could relax because we posed no threat to them. Roberto the Hick would play the piano. Jacke the Rube would tell a few stories. The richies could sit in their smugness and stroke their ferrets.
But things started to change. One night as I was leaving, Sabrina came out to the hallway. “Jacke,” she said, “you have to come to every party I throw. Every single one.” And she kissed me on the cheeks—yes, it was the Italian custom and didn’t really mean anything, but the smell of her hair and the soft touch of her lips on my cheeks stuck with me nevertheless. As did the sight of her closed eyes as she pulled back (closed? really? how gentle and expressive!), then opened them with a big, genuine smile. A winning smile with a victory that (for once) included me as part of it. Or at least didn’t shut me out.
She almost looked sad as she returned to her guests. It was a powerful moment.
Hadn’t I seen a million movies like this? Glamorous woman realizes that an ounce of actual personality matters more than all that status mongering that was going on with her crowd? All that money, glitz, near-celebrity—none of that matters in the end, right? The Rube who wrote a poem (and was writing a musical!) had something those dandy heirs will never have! Sincerity! Common sense! Empathy! Love!
Why not me and Princess Sabrina? Why couldn’t the princess kiss the toad! Marry him even! Open doors!
At one of her dying dinner parties she called Roberto. “Where’s Jacke?”
“He’s right here. We’re writing our musical.”
“You have to come over. Both of you. Hurry.”
“But we’re working.”
“Please. I need you guys here, these dicks are going to kill each other.”
I should have capitalized the word dicks, not for emphasis but because she meant a crew of guys from Dickinson College, an East Coast school I had never heard of but that mattered to her. These guys, the Dicks, were passing through Bologna on their way to Florence, and the richest among them had decided to drop by Sabrina’s apartment.
“Guess we have to go,” Roberto said as he hung up the phone. “The Dicks are going to kill each other.”
“Would that be such a loss?”
“She’s using us,” Roberto said. “When this year is over, she’ll go back to that world. You know that, right?”
“Sure,” I said. “That’s how it goes.”
He looked at me hard. One of the good things about having a friend from West Virginia is they are very in touch with reality. Reality is their state’s primary export after coal, which is basically two ways of saying the same thing.
And unlike me, he did go to the same college as Sabrina, back home. He had a better sense of what she came from and how difficult it would be for her to leave it. “She invites us to these things,” he said, “but don’t mistake that for affection. It’s still all about her. You and I are not her world.”
“Understood,” I said, wondering if he had ever in his life gone to the movies. No wonder he was struggling with the bouncy tunes.
“Her world can be summarized like this,” Roberto said wisely. “Money, status, and her. Not in that order.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that, but it didn’t matter. In the end we went to the party. And it was true, there were five Dicks there, and it was immediately clear that these weren’t my people. They talked about lifting weights and doing blow and sailing competitions and how being from Manhattan beat being from Boston but being from Boston beat being from Brooklyn. I didn’t understand or care about a single thing they said.
Roberto sat down at the piano and started playing “Hava Nagila” several times through, faster and louder each time, adopting a tactic not unlike an elementary school teacher flicking off the lights to quiet a bunch of out-of-control kindergarteners, until the Dicks finally stopped talking about themselves. They shouted a few song titles at him, probably trying to stump him and assert some kind of superiority via their musical knowledge, but they had no chance. Roberto knew every song in the world and could play them all.
Then it was my turn. Roberto stood up to get some wine, and at Sabrina’s prompting, I told a few jokes. They were not stand-up jokes or one-liners or anything like that, just stories I had told before that had made her laugh. I think one was about my first Italian landlady, Signora Grande, who used to sit around watching television wearing only a bra and would always tell my friends who called that I was not there because she did not know my name. I did an impression of her answering the phone, then narrowing her eyes and saying “Jacke? Non c’è” (he’s not here) like a suspicious old crone even as I stood right next to her reaching out for the phone.
What can I say? It always got a laugh. I’m not trying to brag about this. Basically I was a monkey for Sabrina and her friends to laugh at. Why is that something to brag about? It was mildly humiliating, the way they sneered at me.
It was only Sabrina’s smile that kept me going. “Tell them about the lady who sells you bananas every day!” Sabrina cried, clapping her hands.
It was all part of the act. It’s why Roberto and I were there. We were the entertainment. I didn’t blame her: we had a real effect on the mood of the party. The Dicks felt no competition with us. They could breathe for a moment and watch the monkeys perform. They tolerated us and did not think worse of Sabrina for inviting us there: Okay, so you found these guys somewhere. They’re useful tools at parties, we see. Bet your dad hates their guts, ha ha ha ha ha, you’ll be marrying one of us and you know it, ha ha ha ha ha.
So I told the story about the woman who sold me bananas every day, which also involved an impression, and one of the Dicks jumped in. I could tell he was infatuated with Sabrina and angry that he was in competition with the other Dicks (though not with Roberto or me, of course). His anger and frustration were palpable in the way that only an extreme sense of entitlement can produce.
“Don’t you have better things to do than talk to that woman?” he demanded. “I mean, come on. Even for you.”
I didn’t understand. “Not really,” I said, thinking how true that was. Generally speaking, I had no better things to do than whatever it was I was doing at the time. (TWENTY!)
“You know what I mean. What are you going to get from her?” said the Dick.
I was confused. Hadn’t I explained this as part of the story? “I get a banana.”
“You’re talking to someone who sells bananas on the street. For a living. That’s all she does. Why are you wasting your time?”
“She sells bananas!”
I honestly did not know how to respond to this. “I used to sell shoes,” I shrugged.
“My father sold his company last year!” Sabrina said. “For twenty million dollars!”
I couldn’t help but smile. She didn’t like it when things got heated, and she was trying to bridge the gap and move the conversation along, but I wasn’t offended and I certainly wasn’t afraid. I was too fascinated by this up-close view of wealth and privilege. Everything out of this Dick’s mouth was novel to me.
There were chuckles from the others, as if she had been mocking me for talking to the banana seller or perhaps for selling shoes myself. But hey: I could chuckle too. I sold shoes. Her father had sold his company for twenty million dollars. The juxtaposition was comical.
Twenty million dollars. A lot of money. She had mentioned the figure many times, though I sometimes wondered if it was “near” that amount the way her hometown in New Jersey was “near” Columbus Circle. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have enough money to even pretend I had that much. Nowhere close.
Where are you from? Where are you going? The questions mattered to everyone in the room except me and Roberto.
Sabrina wasn’t smiling. She had a funny look on her face. She looked back and forth between us, between me and the Dick, as if she were trying to decide something. Usually she ignored snobbery, but this time it seemed to be bothering her. Maybe she was finally seeing it for what it was?
“And now you’re writing a musical!” she cried, trying to salvage the party or maybe, just maybe, to rescue me.
This prompted one of the other Dicks to begin bragging. His mom was on the board of some arts foundation, and she had met Andrew Lloyd Weber, the reigning King of Broadway.
Sabrina, to my surprise, stood up for me. “So what if she did? These guys are actually doing something,” she said. “Creating. Not just meeting people who create. And I think that’s awesome.” She smiled at me and Roberto. Roberto shrugged. I smiled back, falling a little deeper into whatever it was I had been feeling for her.
This was a great moment for Sabrina, as kind as I had ever seen her in six months. I was impressed that she stood up to him. Looking back, she may have been trying to undermine him for some nefarious purpose of her own, some secret striving I had not figured out. But at the time I took it differently, and I still think it’s possible that I was correct. It may have been the point where she recognized the problem with her tribe, and where her system of values had shifted. For a once she was siding with me. With me and my kind.
Her smile was at its most dazzling. “You’ll be on Broadway someday, Jacke,” she said with genuine affection. “I just know it. And I’ll come to the premiere.”
“Absolutely,” I said. “Broadway. We’ll see you there.”
“And I’ll bring my aunt. She lives in Manhattan too. We’ll sit in the front row!”
I looked at my competitor, the braggart, whose expression had soured. Once again I was glad the door to the balcony was locked. I was, in that instant, triumphant, and he knew it as well as I did. I could hardly believe my good fortune. And—hadn’t I wondered about this? Hadn’t I spent several months thinking about Sabrina and all she represented, all the class and money and privilege, and wondered, well…maybe…maybe in real life, not the movies, maybe the princess would go for the frog, and maybe that was a good thing…maybe there would be a happily ever after for Jacke…
And then of course I blew it all.
I don’t know what possessed me to do what I did next. I started thinking about Sabrina and her aunt and what it would actually mean if Roberto and I pulled this whole thing off. A premiere? On Broadway? Jesus! My whole family would want to come. Probably twenty people right there.
And my friends! All my old friends, my childhood playmates, my high school friends, teammates, new friends from college. They’d want to come too. Are you kidding? A Broadway premiere? For a musical I had written? It would be huge! I’d fly them out!
Just how big was the front row in those theaters? How many people would I be able to fit? And Roberto too—he would have people. And the producers! And the stars! Good lord. There wouldn’t be enough seats for everyone! I would probably have to put some people in the second row. Some very special people whom I had known for a long time. Tough choices would need to be made. Maybe my cousins? My grandmother? I would be breaking hearts left and right, telling them they couldn’t sit in the front row!
I am aware that it made no sense to be thinking like this. And yet that’s exactly what I did.
And I didn’t stop there! My mind was racing. True, Sabrina was my friend now. Sort of. I could probably squeeze her in. But why the HELL would I put HER AUNT in one of these spots in the FRONT ROW? Just because she lived in Manhattan? (And I did not overlook that sly “too” that Sabrina had added. Classic Sabrina.) And that was it? Was “living in Manhattan” the SOLE reason to give some stupid aunt a seat in the FRONT ROW? Some magical pixie dust that falls upon all those who live in that sacred territory of Manhattan? Jesus, don’t those people get enough perks already? If I was in a position to hand out perks, me, Wisconsin Boy, the Monkey, why shouldn’t I give them to my football coaches, or my coworkers from the shoe store? Didn’t they need a few doors opened once in a while?
This happened in a second. Maybe two. Not more than that.
“Well…” I said to Sabrina, clearing my throat. “Maybe not the front row…”
There was a moment of stunned silence. Then, before I knew it, her friends all laughed at her, and her face turned bright red, and my face felt very hot too, and I felt like a horrible jerk.
How stupid could I be? Come on, a Broadway play? It was as if I had told a friend that I had just bought a lottery ticket, and the person politely said something like, “Hey great, and if you win the jackpot, I’ll help you celebrate with a steak dinner,” and then I thought it through and said, “Well, you know, I might not get the money for a while, and there will be taxes, and I will probably have to evaluate all my options, including the charities I expect to give to…” Just agree to buy the damn steak dinner! Yes, you can have seats at the premiere—that’s what I should have said! Front row, Sabrina! You and your aunt, center stage! Orchestra seats! Cast after-party, of course! And afterwards we’ll jump in a cab and fly straight to the moon!
What kind of a jerk can’t just do that? Who’s that deluded? Or selfish? Who has to think it through?
Me, apparently. At least for those two seconds. But two seconds can matter!
Sabrina glared at me, more in shock than anger. The monkey had bitten her hand. Shock came first. Anger would of course follow.
Roberto shook his head in wonder. His eyes told me everything I needed to know. You thought it through. Jesus, Jacke. You actually thought it through.
Sabrina was done with me. No more fancy parties for the monkey. The monkey was out on the street, on his own, two steps ahead of the zookeeper. Sabrina could slum a little, but she could not be mocked. From then on, I had to drink cheap red wine with the degenerates. (My people!) No more pianos under chandeliers: back to the crummy apartment where we ate dinner in a windowless room and jammed a candle in an empty wine bottle for atmosphere.
Over the years I’ve spent many minutes thinking about those two seconds. Sabrina had extended herself, she had shown a side of her she had never shown before and never would again. She was twenty, goddammit. It was a door for her. I was the door.
And I had blown it. My life could have been different. And maybe hers could have, too, at least for a little while longer. It was a shame it didn’t happen.
But here’s the thing: although I’ve tried, I just can’t bring myself to feel too bad about denying Sabrina and her stupid aunt an imaginary front row ticket at our imaginary Broadway premiere. I tell myself that I should. But I don’t.
Sometimes it’s okay for doors to close. And some doors should be closed before they ever have the chance to be opened.
So many good objects from my time in Bologna, it was hard to pick! I might need to have one about the secret river that runs under the city, or the Janis Joplin Easter Egg. In the meantime you can run through the entire set by visiting the 100 Objects page or by following one of these links:
- #11 – The Bench – a day in the furnace provides an object lesson
- #10 – The Spitwad – a high school teacher confronts a bully, with a little help from the heavens
- #9 – The Intersection – Hamlet Dad goes to the movies
- #8 – The Burger Car – a father orders burgers with a slice of Proust
- #7 – The Keyboard – a music teacher pushed beyond her limits turns a child’s dreams to nightmares
- #6 – The Mugs – while slicing up life into tenths of an hour, I get a sudden ray of hope
- #5 – The Motorcycle – learning a life lesson from buying a motorcycle in Taiwan and learning to drive one (in that order)
- #4 – The Sweater – a Wisconsin boy moves to the big city and pays a visit to a therapist
- #3 – The Blood Cake – in which I recount my experience sharing an office with Jerry Seinfeld
- #2 – The Spy Drop – a neighborhood war waged by five-year-olds takes a dramatic turn
- #1 – The Padlock – a doomed football coach struggles to survive a winless season
Other news: The reviews are in, and both The Race and The Promotion are finding their readership! I’m honored and flattered by the reception they’ve received, and impressed by how well the reviewers have gone straight to their core.
Marc Schuster of Small Press Reviews calls it “an incredibly astute novella about ego and politics.” Another review of The Race (“warm and full of life”) can be found on mylittlebookblog. I also posted some follow-up thoughts.
My thanks to all reviewers. And for any reviewers still out there looking for material, just let me know – I have more review copies available! (And by “review” I mean blogs, Amazon.com, Goodreads, or the forum of your choice.)
Can we do an onward and upward from Italy? I think we can!
Image Credits: needcoffee.net, guidetomusicaltheatre.com
13 thoughts on “A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #12 – The Tickets to the Premiere”
Excellent. That’s all that needs saying.
Thanks for the comment – glad you enjoyed!
Loved this little insight into your 20th year. Nicely written.
Really enjoy your voice.
Thanks for sharing.
I’m humming a bolero duet between Sartre and DeBeauvoir ….
Thanks. I can only imagine how awesome that duet must be. The twenty-year-old me is jealous and planning to steal the idea for the libretto.
This is really good. Your ‘front row’ faux pas is very funny. A brilliant tale full of humility and just so comic timing. You’re a wonderful storyteller. Thank you.
Thank you, Yasmin! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Many thanks for stopping by the blog (and for leaving such a nice comment)!
Hi Jacke, thanks for liking my post! As a current twenty-year-old soon-to-be studying abroad in Bologna (a whole year early!), I really enjoyed your reflections and your hilariously illuminating recount of class relations.
I was wondering if you could give me any advice or suggestions for doors I should try to find. As you said, there are so many! (I’m still TWENTY.) It’d be fun to have a place to look forward to finding, a challenge of sorts.
I’ll enjoy poking around your site, thanks for sharing!
Hello! I remember seeing you were headed to Bologna and I was going to send you a link to the post – I’m so glad you found it on your own. I do have some suggestions for you, for what they’re worth. I’ll put some thoughts together and share them soon. In the meantime, good luck! There’s nothing quite like being TWENTY in Bologna! 🙂
Thank you! I really look forward to it 🙂
Okay, the thoughts are here! http://goo.gl/L7aCyW
Best of luck to you!
Enjoyed this! and I love Nuovo Cinema Paradiso!
Thanks for liking one of my post cause it brought here 🙂 I think I will enjoy a lot poking around your site, and I hope you will visite mine again.
ah, I am from Bologn btw 😉
Bologna! My favorite city in the world… thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your time here! I am a fan of your blog, everyone should check it out. 🙂