Lost in Beijing
I simply felt lost when I first went back to China in 1993 after leaving there more than three years ago. Not just because there were many new buildings and new boulevards that I did not recognize. People I met and talked to seemed to have a totally different mentality from what I remembered when I went to college there in the late eighties. It was as if everyone was desperate to miss the train that would take them to a different future, for better or worse. I knew then my career choice had made me miss the single most dramatic transformation in a society in recent human history. It was with a feeling of regret tinged with curiosity that I wrote a song about this new mentality in Beijing that was alien to me. The title was "Beijing Dream." It told a story of a man who woke up on morning in the city and realized that it was going to pass him by. When I showed it to a best friend from my college days he simply laughed at how little I understood a city I had left less than four years earlier.
I had written songs about Beijing before the trip. The first one was titled "In a Strange Land," but was actually written on the flight that took me from Beijing to Columbus, Ohio. It was my first ever airplane flight. I was full of anxiety and was already feeling homesick. I wrote more songs when I missed Beijing, including "There Is a Place." It was not all melancholy reminiscing though, as I also recalled the times in Beijing when I felt aimless and restless in writing "Crazy Words" and "Green Card."