Smarter people than me have talked about magical thinking.
In the first few weeks after it happened I set about gathering everything Terry ever recorded, everything he wrote, every photograph of him, every photograph he took, every story he told me, every secret….everything. People, including me, were always giving Terry beautiful gilt-edged notebooks, with hummingbirds or botanical drawings on the covers. He used them. But, more often than not, Terry would write lines, rhymes and lyrics on the back of whatever envelope was to hand. So, I have a stack of ragged scraps in the house that I can’t throw away. I don't know what clue I was searching for among his archives. I do know that no part of Terry was a mystery to me - there was nothing hidden to unearth. I think I was sure there might be some piece of magic somewhere that would bring him back. He believed in magic. How could you dedicate your life to rock & roll if you didn’t believe in magic?
A lot of kind people helped me with this strange endeavour – knowing I would want everything around me, probably knowing this fever would pass. At that time I was listening to Terry every night, too. That wasn’t easy.
Then two months on, I could only risk listening to him in the day time. The evening and the night time were a beckoning pit. And I wasn’t even drinking.
Now, three months have passed. Suddenly I can listen to the music he revered – the music he based his existence upon, but, for the past few days I haven’t dared listen to Terry.
It is a strange one-degree-of-separation game I’m playing. Can I risk Dion singing I Don’t Believe My Race is Run? Will Walter Hyatt’s Deeper Than Love end me? (Yes. Always). Champ Hood’s Going to New Orleans? that's a risk I’ll take. Cash, I Still Miss Someone? Don & Phil? And it isn’t just the sad songs. We used to revel in the joyfulness of Waylon singing Brown Eyed Handsome Man. Now It makes me grin, until it doesn’t.
This will pass. I’m fearful that if I let it continue then one day I will play Lucky, my favourite album of Terry's, and he will sound remote to me.
May it never happen.
I am sharing tracks from his archives, online. If you know Terry, then you know that, during live shows, his stories took up 60 percent of his time and his songs had to wait until they were finished. They were always worth waiting for. So, I’m posting the tracks, but I’m keeping the in-between chatter for myself.
He told the best stories, because he knew beauty was the only thing that mattered. He pointed it out. He wanted everyone to notice it, wherever and however it showed up. I was with Terry because I wanted to see the world through his eyes. His world had better colours, more life, more detail. I know I have some capacity for magic myself. And I know he wasn’t the only person in our house with gifts. His gifts spoke to me like mine spoke to him. He elevated me, I elevated him. That is a hard thing to give up.