Today is December 8th, and I wanted to remember John Lennon. In 1980, on this day, he was shot outside his home in New York. I remember it well. I was fairly young, but I do remember that he was important to my parents, and I was brought up on the music of the Beatles. My dad received the Double Fantasy album for Christmas that year. It was the end of an era.
But his message lives on. One song I particularly love on that album is Watching the Wheels. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed or thinking I constantly have to write, or do something to prove myself, I play it to remind me just how content you can be just ‘being.’ John was more than a pop star. He was an artist, a peace-advocate and a talented writer of poetry. He had reached a stage in his life when he was happy and he felt ok with being ‘just’ John and not writing for a while. He had just begun again when he was killed.
I also play Monty Python’s Galaxy Song, when I feel I am not doing enough; when I feel I am not in a play at the moment, or being lazy about writing my book. I play John, and Eric Idle, to remind me how very small and insignificant we are. Nothing really matters. Just be happy; just be you.
Just recently, I wrote something personal and, I think, beautiful. After this, unbelievably, I received a really unpleasant letter. One in a long line of bitter and rude messages but taken to new levels of spite. It came from jealously and it was designed to intimidate me, but thankfully I have more than half a brain cell and it was duly given the respect it deserved. But on this significant day, when someone hateful and small-minded took away someone beautiful, who created lovely words, I find myself thinking: why do people have to be as horrible as possible when they could just be nice?
I feel sorry for people like Mark Chapman, and anyone who lives in a closed and twisted world. For their world is a smaller place. I will not let people change me. Not now; not ever. If I can be nice to someone every day, I try. Small acts make big changes.