I was relieved to be in Canada, and on a mission to Paris.
There’s no doubt that Paris is extremely significant to the narrative of my latitude line 43.10 North, and to The Latitude Movement more generally.
The town itself has a magic, a charm, it is a destination. It is the kind of shining gem I look for and am excited to discover in my latitude travels.
But the reason that it is one of the major finds on my latitude line has to do with a guy:
Alexander Graham Bell. His first attempt at a long distance phone call was to Paris. This is sooooo significant. Huge. Yuuuuuuge. Because so much of what the Latitude Movement is about is, in fact, the idea of communication between communities. Conversation. Long distance conversation. So the fact that the first real time long distance conversation happened on my exact latitude line, that’s a sign, that’s the twinkling star that says ‘you are on to something. Keep going.’
After my trip, an idea emerged. What if I start following the news of latitude communities, and instead of the latest breaking news from Washington, D.C., I follow the nuances of local news on my latitude line.
Paris has an excellent publication- the Paris Star. And I check it out each week, online. It’s a great alternative to the big news of the day. We can think of it as Latitude News.
And the Paris Star, it so happens, is running a series, on the written letters and correspondence of Bell:
It is a throwback idea- to see the value of written letters in terms of being able to reconstruct and understand a different era, but also to underscore the idea and value of this kind of more thoughtful, measured communication.
It makes sense that Graham Bell was predominately a writer of letters, although we associate him most with the telephone.
This coincides with my own interest in letters being a foundational aspect of the latitude movement. Using letters as a return to a more thoughtful means of communication in an era where we have more communication tools than ever, but less communication skills than ever.