This year has been one of those years to take stock of what the past years have brought us and all the many many things learned along the way that we never would have known if still in comfortable Vancouver.
The hard thing about all the lessons learned through doing hard things is the challenge to relate them to friends and colleagues after the initial curiosity quickly fades. Truth is how can you translate, without extreme boredom, such personal and individual experiences.
My fear is that all the little things from everyday will some day start to feel ordinary.
My hope is that having joined one of the planet's most exciting emerging creative dynamos full of Dreamers and Doers that life will be anything but ordinary.
So maybe it is time to re-grasp for myself the classical spirit of blogging. The unpolished and often unformed points. The observations, noticing and random of life. Maybe the mundane, maybe insane, maybe neither.
I am going to dissolve the artificial wall between work and non work life. There will be some work things, some food things, events and activities, some boring stuff about natural wine, probably things related to my book Everyday Paris and undoubtedly travel bits. Whatever seems worth noticing for myself. Maybe, just maybe, you'll find it interesting.
It won't be over polished or conceptualised. It won't be overly self aware, it might come accross as pompous at times, trite at others. Not by design but that's how it may seem, to you. The stretch is the point.
It is a cultural briefing on how to "do Paris as Parisians do."
I seek a few more people to give it a read and help me understand what is and isn't working before formally sharing with agents & publishers.
Why did I write Everyday Paris?
I've been a Francophile long before transferring in 2010 to one of Europe's top creative ad agencies - DDB Paris.
observation has always been an obsession of mine and living in Paris is an “observaholic’s” nirvana. It
was a hobby and compulsion to endlessly share things I noticed or thought interesting as a sort of guerrilla ethnography,
which people seem to quite like.
What compelled me to actually follow through with the idea for this book was a discerning friend advising a leading global luxury brand borrowed a passage of mine (without my knowledge) discussing Brie cheeses. One evening he decided to read it out in Versailles
Palace's Hall of Mirrors.
Frighteningly, the occasion was a grand dinner marking UNESCO naming French gastronomy an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, packing together 650 of the good, great and Michelin
starred of French gastronomy in rightful self-congratulation.
Surprisingly, rather than laugh, they applauded.
So I've since written a cultural briefing that can be read on a plane or train to Paris. It fits between your typical laundry list guide book/website/magazine and a breezy but individualistic expat novel.
Why does the world need this book?
There is a
generation seeking to be informed and mindful travelers who have no shortage of tips and lists but struggle to break through the sterile bubble of passive check-list tourism to become authentic participants in the city and experience how its inhabitants live any given day.
In other words, they seek to become temporary Parisians, and thus when in Paris wish to "do Paris as Parisians do."
If you are interested in reading the manuscript before it is proves to be the next great publishing empire, or a glorious failure, send me an email or Tweet.
Contact me by Sunday March 10 ideally as my ambition is to have input by April 1-ish.
If not you, please forward to someone you think might be interested.
I can't offer much other than being part of the journey. I did much the same for Alex Bogusky and John Windsor when they published Baked In, which was rather interesting.
If you are in the UK I will hook you up with some wine. If elsewhere I'll arrange some suitable consideration/inspiration. Of course once published you will brush with glory and get some special rewards if and when it takes off.
This one's for all the local creative folks in Vancouver, aka Hollywood North. I've always been proud of working in a market that while small, punches ways above it's weight class globally within the advertising industry. And I'm speaking about more than just my first. And when you throw in digital heavy weights like EA, a global visual effects hub and one of the leading film, television and commercial production locations in the world, you end up with a seriously large creative class.
Though, while everyone is doing what they are doing the idea of cracking the big screenplay has crossed most minds but the love of fresh air, mountains and ocean keeps most from moving to L.A. to pitch their ideas.
Well, some local heavyweights have started a website which will grant access to the few and powerful in Hollywood who review screen plays. Interestingly, this apparently more has to do with Hollywood's desperate need for fresh, distinct commercial material rather than simply another great application of the web. Though undoubtedly they are interconnected, but we needn't go there as to why. You get it.
Apparently, the city of Vancouver rebranded themselves today. That's right "rebranded." Seeing that headline I was looking forward to seeing a brand promise, a new spirit and mantality at city hall. Maybe even some fun brandspeak on the envelope of my next property tax assessment notice.
Sadly, I read further and learned rebranding means we no longer do we live in a place GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District) but Metro Vancouver.
So you mean like just a renaming?
Yep, a new name on the business cards and letterhead. Thats about it.
What's with all this fancy "branding" verbiage. Kind of feels like an over promise. Don't know why people insist on using these words that have such varied definitions and understandings. Kind of the classic, five dollar word when a one dollar word would do. But maybe that's just my mother's influence.
I was once sent to a business writing course with a bunch of other colleagues. It was alright but more or less felt like a mental vasectomy. It was about something called "business writing." Now being processional and courteous is all well and good. But this course just seemed to find ways to such the soul out of every word we used. Not such a good thing when you're in the inspiration business. So, with my new mission in mind, it was a treat to come across this gem over on Copyblogger on Hemingway's four tips (five kind if you follow the link) for writing.
Use short sentences
Use short first paragraphs
Use vigorous English.
Be positive, not negative
Simple points, but hard practice.
And, to add to the list was Copyblogger's 5th tip
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”