Between IndySpectatorKA+AIndyHubPattern, and all of our Indy-building endeavors, we’ve become (& continue to be) quite smitten with our hometown city. As we gradually (& oftentimes brashly) navigate our personal, professional and creative evolution, we’ve decided that a month abroad may be the perfect next step.

Now, to be clear(-er), this month abroad is not merely a loosely thought-out, semantically-manipulated way of saying “We’re taking a monthlong vacation.” On the contrary, we plan to explore and research and soak up as many valuable experiences in France as our 4-week stint allows.

As we meander through Paris’ coworking spaces, fashion incubators, tech accelerators and universities, we hope to bring back a few new tools that may help us to better be a part of guiding and participating in Indy’s urban growth.

We don’t presume to be urban design mavens or community crafting experts… but, we do believe in Indy’s ability to utilize both its past, present & future successes (and missteps) in such a way that will keep our city moving forward (with one eye on the past). Our daily involvement with various Indy organizations and individuals has equipped us to embark on this expedition with at least a smidgen of perspective regarding the ins-&-outs of our city.

We’re born & raised Hoosiers, and couldn’t be more proud of how Indy has become the creative space we’d always wished for, and we can’t wait to see its future permutations. (And of course, we relish the opportunity to be a part of actualizing what’s to come – for ourselves, our community, and our beloved city!)

We’ll be working out of an apartment on Rue Charlot (in the Marais district) from 20 March to 18 April, and will be posting observations, questions, curiosities, critiques, and ideas that we think may help move Indy towards…

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Diary, Experience, Work / Life

Back with less than what I left with

A month pretending I’m two places simultaneously. And pretending is more true than either/or. The double-ness of being abroad forced a space/time elucidation of where I am and what I’m doing — a precision of role-distinction, excising tertiary duties, clarifying… the need for further clarification (in work, life, studies, etc ad infinitum).

A month of non-refreshing, not necessarily inspiring, intermittently productive self-exaction. Action, pared down to its minimal, most naked machinations — action stripped of extraneous exertions (i.e. the kind that shred each workday into countless unmanageable slivers of half-done obligations).

A month that didn’t obviate any particular/specific future action points. But instead, cleaned out a semi-significant fraction of the [things] that impede forward movement.

I have no imminent aspirations (at least not born of my month in Paris), but I now have a bit of room for aspirations to begin fomenting and manifesting themselves.

I’m back with less than what I left with, and that’s success enough.

Diary, Verse, Work / Life

Readily Unprepared

Less than 6 hours til our taxi takes us to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Our flight leaves at 11am for Toronto.

At the Used Book Café on Boulevard Beaumarchais.

At the Used Book Café on Boulevard Beaumarchais.

Anxiousness has ceded to readiness. (Although readiness ≠ preparedness.)
I’m ready for home.
I’m not prepared to be back (there).
Paris is shoving me westward; Indianapolis is tugging me to South Broad Ripple.
At 10pm, I’ll be in Indy (4am, Paris time).
I am unthinkingly ready.
I’m readily unprepared.
Being places is always foreign.
Home is where the habit is.

Diary, Experience, Learning

Being multi-city

Concept, collaboration, multi-cultural, global localization.

The pervasive mission over the last month has been to find what’s French or Parisian. What can I only do or get here? Think like a local. We’ve certainly enjoyed the quintessential C’s: cafes, croissants, Chanel and cigarettes. But the richer experiences, and life in this city of Paris, have been imbued with flavors and culture from around the world: Nanashi‘s bento boxes, Candalaria‘s tostadas, Isabel Marant’s Indian silk, Mary Celeste‘s Brooklyn design, the cactus of French Trotters.

Local takes on a new dimension, bearing an awareness of a surrounding world. While there’s certain pride and carriage of the region, it doesn’t seem as urgent or imperative.

Coming back to Indy, my quest it deepened to be cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and multi-city. How do we build and develop character beyond the local lens? Is there pride and place beyond Indy? How do we think of ourselves as part of a larger fabric and less possessive about talent and acclaim?

Cafe, Experience

Ease & Patina

We’re finally feeling the ease of the city. We’ve become regulars at the corner cafés and crêperies and enjoy the glimmer of recognition and conversation.

Rue des Saules in Montmartre

Rue des Saules in Montmartre

I half expect to see that they are all actors and props on a stage. So often, you enjoy a city like Paris in the contracted and fleeting moments of several days. After a month, will you see the strings and frames, the costume and makeup?

But we’ve come to enjoy and discover the genuine. First impressions of surprise and delight warm into familiarity, recognition and knowing. Patina replaces shininess.

Cafe, Diary, Experience

Enterprising Urchins (or: phone stolen)

A few hours ago, two tables to the right of where I’m sitting now, my iPhone was stolen by two kids. A perfectly executed bait-&-switch, where one of the (7 or 8 year old!) boys chatted me up about some religious thing and the other boy deftly laid a laminated pamphlet over my phone (which I’d set on the table next to my half-sipped café crème). Once they’d finished their spiel, they gathered their papers and walked off… with my phone neatly tucked into whatever cause they were pretending to proselytize about. It wasn’t til twenty minutes after they’d left that I realized what had just occurred. By then, the two little thieves were long gone, traipsing along Rue Bretagne toward Republique. I looked for them for a minute, took a xanax, and walked home to my macbook (reported it stolen; tried “Find Your Phone”; locked, erased and suspended it via AT&T and iCloud).

The City of Revolution & Protest: 1792, the Jacobin Insurrection. 1871, La Commune de Paris. 1968, the May Protests & Strikes of students and workers. Today...∞

The City of Revolution & Protest: 1792, the Jacobin Insurrection. 1871, La Commune de Paris. 1968, the May Protests & Strikes of students and workers. Today…∞

Moving on… I bought my daily copy of Libération – headline: “Moi, Ahmed Sohail, expulsé par la gauche.” (Still don’t know what it means – something about a guy being kicked out of the left-wing party?) Then, perused the Seine-side bookseller booths with m’mum, Janneane and my sisters. Found copies of Rancière’s anti-Leninist leaflet, a few newspapers printed during the Paris Commune in 1871 (the paper was called Decentralisation, I think), and a French translation of Hemingway’s ode to Paris, A Moveable Feast.

Still, I can’t stop reaching for my phone. No Instagram, Google maps, weather updates, Twitter/Facebook, email – I don’t even know what time it is. Crafty little buggers, those darling street-trolls. If only I had a skill-set as well-developed as their craft…

Pictures, Play

Pictures from the Past Week