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Friday, November 30, 2001

A shudder of sorrow swept through me this morning as I awoke to the news that George Harrison had died. I felt the weight of loss draped over me all day. It wasn't unexpected, but it was still a shock.

Even though he created good music throughout his career, and at times in his life he made stormy tabloid headlines, he was the quiet Beatle, which is why I identified with him. He was overshadowed as a musician and as a personality, and yet he was a key contributor to the group. In the early years especially, his guitar was a big part of what distinguished the Beatles' sound.

CNN devoted more time to George (as I like to call him) today than it did to Donald Rumsfeld. But I kept turning it off. I didn't want to hear other people's memories, and I especially didn't want to listen to opinions of the music that were different from mine. I'll listen to all sides of a political discussion, but when it comes to music (and other parts of the cultural landscape) I want everyone to agree with me — especially if it's something that's so important to me I consider it part of my identity.

I was a Beatles fan from the first time I heard them. Before that, I hardly listened to music at all. I definitely wasn't interested in the same records as the other thirteen-year-olds in 1962, and I didn't listen to the same radio stations. Then in 1963, I heard "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me," and it all changed. Suddenly I was tuning in to KEWB along with the rest of the kids, and spending $3.98 for LPs, when I could get a ride to the record store.

It didn't make me cool in anyone's eyes but my own, but still I felt connected to the hottest new thing. I was riding the crest of the wave for probably the only time in my life.

Those are my credentials for mourning the passing of George Harrison. The shock of John Lennon's murder severed a connection with my younger self. I was 31 when that happened, and it shoved me a little further on into adulthood. Today's news makes my lost youth seem even more distant, even more of a memory and less of a reality.

after the storm

Maybe you can't tell, but the fence is listing badly as a result of recent storms.

When you lose someone close, a friend or family member, it changes your life in real and tangible ways. It leaves a void in your heart, but it also disrupts your daily routine, forcing you to deal with the loss practically as well as emotionally.

When a public figure dies, someone who has mean something in your life, you make a more subtle adjustment. You redefine the larger world, based on a new reality, and then figure out how you fit into it. My world has a new shape now, and some of the bright colors I've always seen when thinking about the past have faded to shades of gray.

I can still hear the music, though. Sounds like a guitar playing in a minor key.

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Scott, erasing, November 28, This Momentary Something Between Strangers

Dana, Bobofett, November 28, Giving Thanks

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One year ago: Experiment

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A lifetime is so short,
A new one can't be bought,
But what you've got means such a lot to me.