It's a telling indication of the depth of Jonathan Meiburg's experience that if you Google his name and search for images, you'll see a lot of birds. As any professional writer will tell you, what makes for powerful writing is engagement with the world. Good writers engage with their environment and seek out novel ways to interact with it. Of course, mere interaction with the environment isn't necessarily an indicator that you'll write well about it; to do so, you have to engage and reflect on that engagement. Ernest Hemingway experienced a couple of wars and lots of bullfighting, but it's how he wrote about those experiences that made him great.
All this is to say that this is why Meiburg, the Shearwater singer and songwriter, writes such quality music. His experience is vast: he's been to the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, an Aboriginal settlement in Australia, the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, and Baffin Island in Canada. His masters degree is in geography, and his thesis (which I am reading now) is entitled The Biogeography of Striated Caracaras (Phalcoboenus australis). Not surprisingly, Meiburg is an avid birder. As you'll read below, he spends a considerable amount of time not only writing about the natural environment but thinking about his place in it with keen metacognition.
Read my interview with Jonathan Meiburg after the video. A special thanks to Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, who introduced me to Jonathan and affectiontely told us two "nerds" to go at it.Read More