When we moved to Fort Wayne in 2011, we spent our last night in Austin boxing everything we owned and throwing it into a U-Haul by ourselves. We rented a house in West Central and the morning after brown pulled the moving truck into the driveway, there were eight people there to help us unload.
It’s easy to fall for a city like that.
And when we first fell in love with this city, it was all fireworks from Parkview Field, hot dogs from Bravas, bike rides on the trails, and even a love song by Nyzzy Nyce. But there’s always more to a relationship than the Instagram photos showing how perfect everything is.
Fort Wayne isn’t perfect, and it’s just plain crazy to pretend that it is.
The better move, the more loving move (in our opinion), is to take a critical look at this place we call home, to look around and see it for what it is, and see how we can make it better. That’s what this issue is all about.
First Strike is a call for a better Fort Wayne. It includes an appeal to reform the redundant Fort Wayne events websites, a call for a Fort Wayne School of Fiction, a nod to the superficial nature of “We love Fort Wayne” movements, and a critique of the hegemonic local arts community.
Critical? For sure. Pessimistic? Not in the least.
We’re just not willing to waste one more moment pretending this city is something it’s not. We’ve only got a limited supply of moments, and another one just passed us by.
“Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal connection between various moments in history. But no fact that is a cause is for that very reason historical.
It became historical posthumously, as it were, through events that may be separated from it by thousands of years. A historian who takes this as his point of departure stops telling the sequence of events like the beads of a rosary. Instead, he grasps the constellation which his own era has formed with a definite earlier one.
Thus he establishes a conception of the present as the ‘time of the now’ which is shot through with chips of Messianic time.”
- Walter Benjamin
That’s mid-century German scholar for: “nobody knows how people of the future will view this little blip of time-space, so why not view it as that moment in time that makes all the difference in the world?”
When we asked Elliot Berdan about including a piece from Anthropolowhat in this issue, his response included the following:
“It’s safe to say that I’ve been thinking very, very deeply about the land and my relationship to it for the better part of six or seven years. Thematically, the land is just so terribly important to my writing. When I think of Fort Wayne, I think of loneliness and I think of being awake at night. That is not everyone’s experience, and so I look forward to further illumination from other people.
“What we need is a call to arms among writers and creators to talk about the city, to understand the city. I’ve been reading up on quantum physics recently, and there’s much to be said about understanding a particle in relationship to the whole.”
And people have been talking about the particles lately, and for good reason. Fort Wayne’s particles look great: they have bright colors and well-chosen fonts, they come in great flavors and pretty packaging, they have music beds that sound like your favorite indie band and a shallow depth of field that makes everything seem perfectly surreal.
We’re making (260) because there’s definitely more to this part of the world than the current marketing would suggest. While (260) is not an uncritical embracing of the status quo, it’s not merely complaining either. We’d describe it as “aggressively optimistic.” Yes, we are optimistic about the potential of this city and our collective ability to achieve change, but...
“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.”
So, maybe think of it as punk-rock-optimism - irreverent and grounded in a DIY ethos. Ain’t nobody else gonna come and make this world what we want it to be.
We’ve got to do it ourselves, and we’ve got to start where we are, and we don’t need fancy cameras, grants, or a building to do it. (260) is not about looking to the coasts to learn how to be cool or creative or happy or rich, (260) is about doing what we can with what we’ve got right here, right now. It’s about looking for places we can improve, calling out bullshit when we see it, and celebrating the things that are genuinely awesome.
Welcome to our First Strike.