…a friend [René de Chochor] said to me while we were having lunch in a luxurious restaurant in New York.
-the first line of “Paris Revisited,” late memoirs of Anaïs Nin, edited by Karl Orend.
One year ago today, I arrived in Paris with two overweight suitcases and the crumpled address of a Couchsurfing host in Montreuil. The memory of my first few weeks in France blend into a chalky nightmare, full of bureaucratic obstacles, rental scams and unanswered letters to home. The following months weren’t much easier. Apart from a two week-long concert ticket winning streak in October - courtesy of Blogothèque and Les Boutiques Sonores - nothing came easy. It wasn’t until the new year that Paris became the reverie that everyone expects it to be. I stumbled into the growing ‘haute-espresso’ scene pioneered by Frog Fight, an international barista collective based in Paris. I began pouring for Coutume Café and volunteering at Shakespeare & Company Bookshop. Meanwhile, my doodles at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts evolved into a legitimate, focused art practice. I traveled, visiting childhood friends in Berlin and Fort William, attending a wedding in Glasgow, and taking over Barcelona with a group of Finnish friends. In June, I moved into the bookshop, a transition which has become the most influential period of my young life. The shop, its booksellers and writers, my fellow tumbleweeds, and the spitting thieves became my muses. Even after I moved into a flat in Montmartre for my last month in Paris, my life still revolved around Shakespeare & Company. I owe more to the Whitmans than I have words to express. This has been the most dazzlingly challenging year of my life, and I don’t regret a second of it. Thank you to everyone I love, to all the strangers I secretly filmed, and to my followers.