Today I give my paper. And all the hours of research and writing and editing pay off. I know what I’m saying, it makes sense, I finish in my allotted time, and the wild card– the tech support to show and play my music examples– does its job. Our panel– on influence in Brazilian music– is interesting and in the discussion session that follows with the audience we discover several congruent threads that tie our work together. All in all the best possible outcome. P & I celebrate after with curry and a pint at a local pub.
words launched from gaping mouths pile up around
us errant paper airplanes valiantly
striving to carry big ideas sound
gesture belief shot precariously
into the void to die there purpose spent
success was never guaranteed we know
but still we hoped our hard-birthed missives went
toward a sympathetic ear to show
their merit thereby demonstrating ours
making the days years of this journey worth
their cost lost pursuit of secret dream hours
that haunt us knowing what-if time on earth
limits everything as these words now fall
silent perhaps not mattering at all
Today the BRASA conference begins, but we have a few hours to explore before the opening ceremonies. There are so many iconic places and views in London, and we are continually stopping to take photos and marvel at our surroundings. At the conference opening we chat with the Brazilian musicians who are playing there, run into the author of one of the first books on Brazilian music I ever read. Tomorrow the paper presentations begin, including mine. We head back to the hotel, my head swimming with all the sights and sounds of today.
Really– would you expect it? A giant blue chicken in Trafalgar Square in the midst of statues of war heroes and buildings from centuries ago. It arrived a bit more than a year ago, and shows the delightful sense of Brit irony in the midst of all the weighty history memorialized everywhere one turns. A good night’s sleep has us back on our feet again, and today we are out in the streets of London, walking, photographing, exploring. We start at Abbey Road–making the historic cross along with many other Beatles lovers. We continue on to the village of Hampstead, walk across the heath to the equally charming village of Highgate, take a tube back to city center, and wind up at the blue chicken. A huge day of walking as we align ourselves with this new city– our home for the next few days.
It kindof feels like Alice down the rabbit hole. Up all night and continuing on into the early-arriving day. Maneuver through customs, onto the tube with newly purchased passes, arrive at our hotel in Bloomsbury, sign in and stash bags. But we’ll have no room for hours so we wander the streets entranced, exhausted by turns. London, as far as we can see. We have flown across the Atlantic and landed here for a week. And the newness of everything refreshes our weary eyes and makes us smile.