October 27th, 2016

Storytelling and Minimalist Living in Kennedy-King

by Amy Sheldrake Eddy


“In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. . . .What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”  Robert F. Kennedy spoke these words as part of his famous speech delivered here in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968, just after receiving the news that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.  Those words still seem pointedly applicable today, almost 50 years later.  

Maura Malloy tells a great story about her personal connection to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, the site of those historic words:  Her mother is a retired creative writing teacher in South Bend, and she focused on Robert F. Kennedy’s speech as part of her classroom curriculum.  As a result, both the text of the speech and the history behind it came to hold a lot of personal significance to Maura during her childhood.  Little did she know that much later, after college, grad school and years living elsewhere, she would end up in Indianapolis, right across the street from the park dedicated to the words and ideas that meant so much to her and her family.    

After growing up in South Bend and attending the University of Notre Dame, Maura lived and worked as a screenwriter in New York City after graduate school in Charlottesville, VA.  After living in Manhattan for two years, she moved to Brooklyn, which was more affordable at the time.  At a friend’s wedding, Maura met Rory Collins, a software engineer with Apparatus and contractor for Lilly, who had also grown up in her hometown. After the wedding weekend in NYC, Maura and Rory kept in touch, but at first it seemed doubtful whether they could build a relationship with a future because of the long distance involved.  So Maura moved to Indy in 2012 to eliminate the distance factor in the relationship.  Her work as a screenwriter allows enough flexibility to work from home with occasional travel to New York and LA. 

Rory and Maura got married and started looking for a house near downtown Indy; walkability was what Maura missed most about NYC.  They viewed houses in many urban Indy neighborhoods, including Fountain Square, and ultimately chose a historic 1921 home in the Kennedy-King neighborhood, right across the street from MLK Park (which just debuted a fantastic new playground this week).    

With a 10-month-old daughter, Maura says that having a child has enhanced her perspective on living in Indy; it’s a great place to raise kids.  In the past four years, Maura has seen the culture of Indy grow; she loves to see new local restaurants and farmers’ markets start up.  She added that it’s so nice to be close to family: her parents and in-laws are in South Bend, and Maura’s brother and sister-in-law live in the Meridian-Kessler area with their four young children.

When asked to name her favorite thing about Indy, she replied, “It’s really the best of both worlds.”  She was referring to the unique combination that Indianapolis embodies:  aspects of a big city like great restaurants, arts and culture, and historic architecture together with comparative affordability of housing in walkable neighborhoods close to downtown.  She said it’s great to finally have a house with enough space to host relatives for the holidays.  [The unspoken implication: you can’t live like that in New York City these days, because it’s unaffordable for all but a very wealthy few.]

Maura currently has two film projects in development, with actress Tessa Thompson attached; the first, “An Illuminated Life,” is a biopic about Belle da Costa Greene, the daughter of the first black graduate of Harvard, who passed as white while working as J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian at the turn of the century.  The other screenplay is called “Our Revels” and will be a smaller, independent film.  

A Serene Space is Maura’s lifestyle blog about minimalist living and simplicity, as well as a website for her professional organizing and de-cluttering service.  She was asked to be a speaker at last year’s TEDx Indianapolis event, on the theme “Keep It Simple;” here’s the link to her fascinating talk about the history of consumerism in American households and how she personally came to embrace the minimalist lifestyle and “the art of conscious consumption.”

Welcome to Indy, Maura and Rory and your beautiful baby girl!  Indianapolis is happy to be called the best of both worlds.