I’ve just landed in San Francisco after nine days in China: Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. My brain is buzzing with the welcome vertigo of being completely foreign, a pinball pinging through a world that you neither understand or can communicate with. And yet, I could observe all day long, trying to sift out meaning where words didn’t work. It was a pretty rad and much-needed solo adventure. I saw some live music two nights in Shanghai, both shows put together by wooozy.cn – I loved seeing what kind of music young Chinese kids are making. Because of course I saw it through my own cultural filters, I heard threads of The Strokes, Explosions In The Sky, and even a male-female duo that totally resonated of the White Stripes, if the White Stripes were singing in Mandarin. It was a familiar sentiment, this urgency in music, even five thousand miles away.
I’m recharged, and disoriented. I’ll be back with more this week, including a new chapel session or two. Happy thanksgiving week (I think, right? — what day is it? I landed before I took off.)
My day job involves advising college students about opportunities to study in rad places, and all this week I get to give one of our programs a test run by sailing on a 134-foot ship and, literally, learning the ropes.
I’ll be sailing out in two hours, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and spending a few days on the Pacific as an active member of a working crew, seeing what students experience on their semesters on board. We dock in Monterey at the end of it all. In addition to being a classroom and lab (I keep thinking of Voyage of the Mimi), it’s also a working ship, so there will be 24-hour watch rotations. Maybe I can get the middle-of-the-night one. I could use some 2am silence on a glassy sea.
Of course, I made a mix and have been listening to it all week in preparation. It’s eerie how fitting each song is becoming for me this week, and how each one is a perfect soundtrack to my unique life right now. Enjoy in my absence…
I’m all at sea
where no one can bother me
…Just me and my thoughts
sitting far away
I sleep by myself
I drink on my own
I don’t speak to nobody
I gave away my phone
Like a warm drink it seeps into my soul
please just leave me right here on my own
later on you could spend some time with me
if you want to, all at sea
Now I need you more than ever
Do I need you more than ever now?
So come and spend some time with me
and we will spend it all at sea
Name: Heather Browne Location: Colorado, originally by way of California Giving context to the torrent since 2005.
"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel." —Hunter S. Thompson
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