HAVANA TIMES — I have always believed people are connected to one another by something that surrounds them, but that those connections must be activated somehow. I sensed this on realizing how close I feel to George Harrison, the artist who, being the most quiet and introspective of the Beatles, managed to grow, unaided, and to do things for others.
He settled within that spiritual circle that only his friends could penetrate and observe from the inside. He himself admitted he was different from the image he projected, someone no one knew, a human being torn by two contradictory forces, a man of extremes who could be very calm on one occasion and scathing on others.
Martin Scorcese’s 2011 documentary “Living in the Material World” captures Harrison’s interesting personality, the trips where he met many people who admired him. As has been said about the artist, he was a friend to all his friends. He put together that circle so that those inside would love and protect one another.
I’ve been a little like George Harrison since I was a little girl, someone prone to isolation. I spent a lot of time reading and drawing. After watching a movie of particular interest to me, I would write my own version of the script, changing and enriching the plot. Then, at school, during recess, I would tell my classmates about it. It was my own film, written and directed by me. But they didn’t know this. They thought it was simply a movie I had seen.
At home, we used to listen to the Beatles on an old record player. The originality of their songs made a deep impression and stayed with me.
Harrison lived in a different dimension. My world was one of material shortages. I studied and lived in a unique country. For years, we stayed separate. Later, chance events – or fate, who knows – would bring us together.
I started working at Cuba’s Canal Educativo (“Educational Channel”) as an assistant director. One of the programs I worked on dealt with the history of the Beatles. It was put together using their anthology. I then returned to George. We had come together never to leave one another again.
George left us when he was 58 and my son was only two. One life began, another changed its form. The death of the musician was not real, his essence remained, his spirit floated about, enveloping me. I came to understand I was also inside that circle, and I set out to nurture it the only way I knew how.
Friends and relatives helped me make inroads into that universe: lending me documentaries, records, films, his autobiography, photos, posters, news, any material that somehow recreated his presence. There was the artist, perhaps far more alive than ever before, and I could make him even more tangible through my writings, paying tribute to his person.
I wrote a book dedicated to the artist, a kind of collection of letters, thoughts and poems, where I include myself in his world and him in mine, a convergence of space and time.
Our closeness, the inner light, came to be as life-scenes played out a second time: I would walk next to him down Arnold Grove, the street he was born on. I would feel the vibrating mantras in India, stand in Madison Square as a spectator of that Concert for Bangladesh.
In his beloved Friar Park, I would help him plant and look after his trees. I would dance in the smoke and sweat-filled Cavern with all of the boys. I would stand and watch the Beatles record their albums at Apple Studio. I would sometimes be a nurse at the clinic where they tried to save him. We would have a good laugh with the members of Monty Python and experience powerful emotions next to Formula One racers.
Then came the days spent among the Traveling Wilburys, the adventures with his eternal friends, Paul, John and Ringo. Together, we’d experience the jealousy over the romance Erick Clapton and his wife Pattie had. We’d take in the freshness of the countryside with his friend Erick, where Here Comes the Sun was born. We’d even breathe in the moist London mist together…all of these were reconstructed memories, like cutouts glued to an immense postcard.
“All things must pass,” one of his songs says. But I know George and I will continue to be together inside the circle, sharing the beauty and spirituality that still remains in this material world.