I noted the newest ‘who to follow’ suggestions on my Twitter homepage (is that what it’s even called?!) and staring back at me is a self-described ‘director, writer and actor living in Milan.’ Of course I should follow this guy, right? He tweets about ballet, and opera and music and theatre and, to his infinite credit, spells that final one in the preferred and superior way. But I’m a total ignoramus about ballet, and “Phantom of the Opera” is as operatic as I get. Plus, Milan?
Still, that’s the part that lured me in. Milan. Artistic cachet, right there. Fashion capital, home of Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” the opera house, the Duomo, just — the history of the place. I doubt this guy is the same caliber as the expats in Jazz Age Paris. We “shall not look upon [their] like again” after all. (I do feel good about working in Shakespeare, I must admit.) But there he is, short-listing his resume and talents and Italian locale on his twitter profile, and comparatively, I cannot compete. I’ve visited Italy, but the US Midwest has always been home. Mind you, it boasts some lovely cities — Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis — and some top-notch writers: Ray Bradbury, Carl Sandburg, that rascal expat Ernest Hemingway, TS Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut. And though Indiana is home to me and was home to the man who said “Everything is nothing, with a twist,” I don’t even live in Vonnegut’s Indianapolis, as it turns out. Rather, I am relegated, by choice of course, to the suburban outskirts of that mid-sized Midwestern American city, boasting my mad passion for Indianapolis Colts’ football or sitting around a firepit blaze, gazing up at the stars.
Suburban Indianapolis might be survivable, but tack on ‘Teacher, Writer-in-Training, Dog-lover,” to the profile. For pizzazz, include these tid-bits: known for crying jags, bouts of insecurity, poor joint health and haphazard housekeeping skills, and it’s patently obvious that the gent from Milan won’t be following my tweets, much less reading my blog, or any future memoir that may or may not be in progress.
Maybe my tagline should be “Shakespeare Scholarette, University Writing Instructor,Life Enthusiast. Finds Europe fascinating, but prefers Midwest values and growing old gracefully (joint aches permitting, of course). Writer-in-Training.” Sort of a tongue-in-cheek self-promotion with panache, right?
After all, I am following the wisdom of Vonnegut: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Not Milan-worthy, perhaps, but I decided not to follow that guy. Even if he does spell theatre the way I do.
Wait a tic. I think I just felt my soul, growing.