where the ide of "Pilgrimage" comes from:
"Pilgrimage" comes from an incense bowl. I've been
a Buddhist since I was 16 - the Nichiren Shoshu sect. So every
morning I chant and burn incense. It's that linear thing of
time as a line that's burning. Sometimes I watch the incense
burn, and I imagine that it's this great journey from one end
of this big, dusty bowl to the other. The song starts off with
the one line of incense that turns into the life that turns
into the land, and I felt happy with the idea of expansion.
I'm saying, "I'm coming to you/I'll be there in time' to
death as well as to the source. But there's a feeling of, when
I die, it will be okay, because I will have done what I mean
to do. I won't have missed it."
"The Open Hand Book - Notes on her
New Album", Musician, 1991, also published in Language
and in the Limited Edition of 99.9F° (http://www.vega.net/handbook.htm)
transcribed by Eric Szczerbinski
On the meeting with
her biological father:
"Regarding "Pilgrimage" -- yes, it was about
the incense bowl, as it said the quoted interview, but it was
also about the journey to find my father, who I met in 1988.
He lives in California, and I lived in New York, so I took a
plane trip across the country to see him for the first time
since I was 18 months old. So "years of an inch and a step
toward a source" means my source -- my father. It's a song
with at least two meanings."
From the mailing list Undertow (http://www.suzannevega.com/undertow)
Notice the references in the song to language
and pipelines just like in "Rusted Pipe". [Ed.]