It’s hard to believe today makes it an entire decade since George Harrison left the material world for his eternal home. I still remember the day after he passed away as though it were yesterday. When I went to the house TV that morning of 30 November 2001, Friday, I just knew the news about him was going to be that he’d died yesterday. I remember it was raining that day. And yet I wasn’t able to cry, since I’d known he was dying. It weren’t as though his death came out of nowhere suddenly.

VH1 and I think even MTV had tributes to him that night. I can’t remember the last time VH1 still played actual music and music-related shows and movies, and of course MTV jumped the shark way before VH1. At least there’s still VH1 Classic. That night was also my year-anniversary with my fourth Who album, Odds and Sods. I’d never expected what would happen a year from the date I bought that album.

Here are but a few of the reasons why George is my favorite solo Beatle. (John is my favorite actual Beatle, though Paul was my original favorite.)

1. He cared so much about humanity, and believed so much in our potential to change the world for the better.

2. He was so deeply spiritual, but contrary to what some people might say, he never came across as preachy or sectarian in his songs. He was expressing universal spiritual sentiments in song, not arrogantly saying, “This is the only way to think, act, or believe, and if you don’t do exactly as I do, you’re some horrible unsaved sinner.” He recognized there are many names for and paths to God.

3. He was into Indian music and Eastern religion and philosophy even after they were no longer considered the hip or trendy thing by the masses. He was interested in them on their own merits, not because he was mindlessly following some fad.

4. All Things Must Pass is one of the greatest albums of all time.

5. He did all he could to help the starving people of Bangladesh, and supported UNICEF throughout his life.

6. He had such a beautiful personal relationship with the Divine. In my own personal prayers, I follow his lead and address Hashem as “My Sweet Lord.” It’s a really lovely thing to have such a close relationship with Hashem that you feel s/he’s your friend you can always turn to for anything, not some stern old man wielding a scepter.

7. Living in the Material World is an amazing album, full of beautiful spiritual songs and amazing lyrics. I’ve also never heard his voice sounding more beautiful than on this record. Too bad all that vocal evolution was shot straight to Hell on his next record, Dark Hoarse (I mean Dark Horse). His voice was never really the same after his laryngitis.

8. He proved that still waters can run very deep.

9. He was very humble.

10. He was a Pisces. Though my own Sun sign is Sagittarius, and I’m very proud of being the sign of the centaur, all my Sag placements (Sun, Mercury, Moon, Neptune) have a more Piscean feel. The year I was born, 1979, Sagittarius was being directly influenced by Neptune, the ruling planet of Pisces. That often masks the true ruler of those planets and houses. In particular, I’m much more of a Lunar Piscean than Sagittarian. It’s just like how my Sun sign has its typical characteristics largely hidden by how I have Virgo rising, and a number of other Virgo placements (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn).

May you rest in sweet peace, George, and may your beautiful memory be for an eternal blessing. The world is better because you were in it, and I’m so glad I was honored to share the planet with you for 21 years and 11 months.

George’s swan song. I’m not too keen on his final album (for reasons too off-topic to get into here), but this is one of the songs on it I really love.

***

 

I’m now on Chapter 10 of Justine Grown Up, “Christmas Couplehood,” and have written about 48,700 words. The table of contents now has 58 chapters, up from 56. I’d really like to try to get it up to 60, as Adicia’s story has. I don’t even think at this point that an Epilogue will be necessary. And now that I know what I’m writing towards, the penultimate chapter, “Sing Blue Silver Snowstorm,” when Justine finally proves to her family once and for all that she’s a capable adult and not their overgrown baby sister, I think I’m going to be working a lot faster. When you’re really looking forward to writing a chapter or scene, you do what you must to get there faster and get it down on paper and out of your head.

I also now have a subplot for the book. In Chapter 6, “Halloween Wedding Gone Awry,” Emeline made the decision, based on the encouragement of her sisters, Lenore, the Ryan sisters, and Sarah, to call off her wedding less than a week before it was due to happen. She just couldn’t ignore all the things wrong with her fiancé, and all the red flags that had been there their entire relationship. Everyone has been horrified as they’ve found out more and more about just how strange their relationship was, and how bizarre her ex-fiancé was. Now she’s dealing with being alone again, and may or may not find a new man by the end of the book. I don’t think I want her to go back to the original guy, even if he completely changes.

Emeline’s boyfriend is first supposed to appear in the hiatused second book, but since I didn’t get that far yet, I decided to change his name and ethnicity. Since Emeline is largely (but not entirely) based on myself, and her significant other and their relationship are also rather similar to my own fellow and our relationship, I didn’t want to make it seem as though it were nothing more than a thinly veiled fictionalization. So I changed the name from Aleksey Smirnov to András Kóbor (a Hungarian name). Besides, the name Aleksey is already claimed by one of the secondary main characters in my Russian novels.

Even though the plot is more tightly focused and centered around only a few major characters this time around, this still isn’t a book I think I could wrap up within all of 400 pages. I’m thinking in the final vicinity of 150,000-200,000 words. I still like a slower pace and focusing on the journey instead of racing from start to finish without any side distractions. But then again, I apparently have a rather old-fashioned writing style, such as how I like to take some time to set stuff up and don’t just dive right into the middle of action with no formal introductions.

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