Day 996: What’s the story?

What’s the story?

What’s WHAT story?

One story at a time. On my way to work, yesterday, I saw this …


… and I wondered,  “What’s the story?”

Whenever a story has parts unknown to us, we make up stories to understand, make meaning, and move on. When I saw those abandoned baby shoes lined up neatly outside of Boston’s Fenway Park, I thought

What’s the story I would make up about that? And what stories would other people make up about it?

For the rest of the day, I thought about stories.

What’s the story with that?

Well, since I’m

  • a psychotherapist,
  • an English major, and
  • somebody who loves to read and write

… stories are very important to me. No mystery, there.

What’s the story, with these other photos I took yesterday?

IMG_5099IMG_5104 IMG_5110 IMG_5114IMG_5113 IMG_5115 IMG_5116 IMG_5119 IMG_5120 IMG_5123

What’s the story you might create, about any of those images?

What’s the story with today’s music?

What’s the story with “Aja” by Steely Dan?

I chose “Aja” today because

  1. I heard it on my walk home, when I was looking at some of the above images,
  2. I’ve never included it in a blog post before, and
  3. people tell lots of different stories about that song, including these (from this web page):

The song is pronounced “Asia,” and was inspired by the continent. Steely Dan have several songs with a Far East influence, since Donald Fagen believes it is a symbol of sensuality. He told Rolling Stone magazine that the title came from a high school friend whose brother was in the army and came back with a Korean wife named Aja, although he wasn’t sure how she spelled it.

I thought it very obvious that the song is about a fictional Bordello on the California coast, perhaps San Francisco area. That’s why you hear the police whistle. The part with Wayne Shorter’s is where the police raid the place.

Yet another subtle drug reference in their music: “Break out the hardware, let’s do it right.” Hardware is another name for the needle, spoon, flame used for shooting up, mainly heroin.

When they refer to the folks up on the hill how they don’t give a damn. It’s CAPITOL HILL….. duh?

Louis Armstrong called jazz “Chinese music”, you can guess along with me why (my guess – that jazz is not rational and western, it’s intuitive yet has its own definite yet different kind of logic). So this song is about playing jazz for people who often don’t get it or don’t care.

Since I live near San Francisco, I interpret “up on the hill” to be wealthy bored people on Nob Hill. Coincidentally, someone wrote that Kid Charlemagne” also had a reference to “up on the hill”, and that song was about Owsley Stanley, the guy who (among other things) synthesized acid for the acid tests in SF.

The story goes that Steve Gadd walked into the studio in NYC – put on the cans – and 8 minutes later – he was finished – one take ! Had the privilege of seeing him in Johannesburg with Joe Sample and Randy Crawford. AJA is the perfect number !

The lyrics of Aja paint a picture of a man, perhaps a heroin addict or drug dealer whose only salavation day after a day is running home to the arms of Aja…which lends credence to the lyric of “when all my dime dancing is through, I run to you”

While Donald Fagan wrote the song about a friend’s South Korean wife, named Aja, you cannot help but think that the courtship began as a man knowing where to get his ultimate fix.

The model on the cover of the album “Aja” is not Korean but Japanese. Her name is Sayoko Yamaguchi, whom Newsweek chose her one of the top six models in the world in 1977. She passed away on August 14, 2007.

i was named after this song, and i have great appreciation for its perfection and character, but my middle name is Victoria, and 8 out of ten people ask if that is a porno name…

What’s the story with that?  SO many stories, about just one song, from just one website. And, I’ve told stories to myself about that song, for years, that are different from each one of those stories above.

What’s the story you might create about “Aja”?   Please listen to it, if only to experience the story of its brilliance.

Finally, what’s the story with all the various stories in this post?

Here’s my story. I believe that

  1. being as much as possible in the present moment,
  2. being present with all your senses,
  3. letting go of fears about the future and regrets about the past, and
  4. telling the story of your life, in new and illuminating ways

… can help us all heal, learn, and grow.

Gotta go hear some more stories at work, dear readers.

Thanks to all the people, places, and stories that helped me create this storytelling post and thanks to you — of course! — for reading all the stories here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

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33 thoughts on “Day 996: What’s the story?

  1. I haven’t listened to Steely Dan in ages and didn’t realize Wayne Shorter was a member. Odd since I’ve been listening to a lot of Weather Report, VSOP, 1960s Miles music, and about a half a dozen of his solo albums recently. I guess since I’ve been playing so much of his music lately i should put my Steely Dan CDs into my iTunes…

    • Here’s my story: I love Wayne Shorter, Steely Dan, and seeing you here today. See Mark Bialczak’s comment below for the story about Shorter and Steely Dan.

  2. I surely hope there is not a sad story about those tiny pink shoes, Ann. Maybe it is just a tribute to a Red Sox fan in training. ?? ❤️

  3. I love Steely Dan – this is one of my most favorite songs of theirs. The pink shoes are from a person that had one last dying wish and that was to live a child for one more day, free from pain and fatigue. But they lost track of time and their time as a child ended before they could return to their home. The shoes are all that are left of them and their magical day reliving their childhood.
    And then there is the whole dining room set up in the parking lot….hmmm…what does it all mean?
    Have a fantabulous Wednesday Ann!!!!!

  4. The shoes were kicked off by a toddler as her Mum wheeled her past the obstacle. They were discarded at intervals. A tidy passer-by placed them together so they could be found again. I could have been that passer-by had I not been running out of steam:

  5. I love that “Aja” is not only a story in itself but that it prompts so many other stories. It seems we not only each have a story to tell but many stories to tell, and each story generates more stories.

  6. The story seems to include getting your cute new car serviced!

  7. Donald Fagan and Walter Becker’s best work begs storytelling for its obtuse lyrical prism and specificity in musical beauty, Ann. You know that’s how I feel about Steely Dan. Trent, regarding your comment above, Wayne Shorter above was one of the revolving cast of great players that welcomed their invitation to play on their albums come studio session time, but were never considered “members” per se.

    My Aja tale revolves around my U of Maryland college years and our daily early a.m. return to our off-campus apartment, after long days of studying and working for the campus newspaper and socializing, in various sequences, to the embrace of songs of that album and roommates discussing world events and singular happenstances and individual eccentricities. Much like the songs we loved coming from the speakers.

    Ah, yes, those shoes.

    The little feet
    They danced in pink
    Up and down
    Back and forth
    To a song nobody heard.
    ‘Til one afternoon they felt too tight
    Off they came
    To toddler’s delight.
    Wait! Mama moaned
    Several blocks removed
    Still pushing carriage ahead
    As the tiny dancer
    She bounced shoeless
    To her special inner tune.

    I think that’s what Harley was trying to type in your other photo.

  8. I think the visuals of Aja are very good, and although when the song was composed there was a “story”, I don’t always get the meaning of the lyrics until after I’ve heard it many times, or read what you posted about the characters. The reason for that is that I give more importance to the melody and the music, than to the lyrics. When it’s a video, like this one, I will give the visuals even more importance because I’m a visual person first. The theme for me seems to be mother earth, and perhaps the feeling of ecstasy , brought on by “altitudes”, and a woman in this case. One thing I have to the say is that the song’s forté for me is the jazzy instrumental approach it has. What’s the story with “me” is that I’m not very good with sentimental lyrics although I did listen to them when younger, and still do, from time to time.

  9. Ah, stories, what would we do without a sensible narrative?

  10. My story is that I am cold and tired, and without energy today and really just want to go back to bed and sleep and I don’t know why I haven’t done so as yet

  11. Oscar! Hey dude! What’s the story on your FB page? I think I hear Ann sing Pat Metheny’s “Third Wind”!

  12. Leturos

    I’d answer in detail if I could keep it under 1000 words.

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