Luck, Listening, And The Social Divide


I love it when things just fall into my lap. I know I should probably prefer it when I work for them, but I feel like I work for a lot of things that bear no fruit, and it gives me a sense of cosmic balance when something wonderful comes to me of its own accord.

Such was the case with writer Emiliano Garcia-Sarnoff and his incredibly poignant feature about the experiences he had while embedding himself in the world of Chico’s homeless. One day, out of the blue, I got this email: Emiliano had voluntarily left his home in the dead of winter and lived among the people on the streets and in shelters. He had talked to them about their stories and circumstances, seen the world through their eyes, and had written the whole story for the News & Review. Months passed with creative differences bogging down its release, and finally he brought it to us instead. Their loss is truly our gain. (The paper, not the homeless people.)

I know you might feel like we’ve already talked about homelessness enough, but for those who live this way—whose experience in life is framed by the people they share this situation with, and the perceptions laid upon them—there is no past-tense or fading relevance, there is only survival. My hope is that the more we see the truth about our fellow individuals, the more nuanced our approach will become to dealing with these issues. Their stories need to be told.

In a way, that sums up my philosophy regarding all social divisions. Stereotypes exhaust me. Everyone I’ve ever met had something in common with a “category” they didn’t fall into, be it gender, race, culture, religion, political lean, wealth, class, orientation, or age. Whenever we paint “others” with a broad brush, we’re missing an opportunity to connect and work in better harmony as a species, as well as learn about ourselves and what combination of traits and environment make our lives what they are.

Speaking of defying cultural stereotypes, did you know there’s a burgeoning metal scene in India? Well, believe it or not, there’s a burgeoning metal scene in India, and we were lucky enough to get writer and world traveller Eric McGuire to write about it. I know, right? Synthesis is all global and shit; breakin’ down barriers and telling you who’s doing what where.

I have to (sheepishly) admit, my initial reaction was to imagine it would be some sort of Bollywood-ization of the metal we’re familiar with, but the cultural influence was incredibly subtle—the slightest bounce to the drumbeats, the faintest tension in the bend of the strings— ultimately it spoke more to the idea of metal appealing to an emotional state that transcends East and West, rather than an eastern interpretation of western music. I think it’s pretty cool that people across the planet are speaking the same musical language.


Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.