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George Harrison: Guitars Everywhere

I’m going through a George Harrison phase.

Lately I’ve been binge-reading books and watching movies about his life, his spirituality, and his music. George was always my favorite Beatle, but I never knew much about him that didn't come from teen magazines and bubblegum cards.

Now I’m consuming all the George material I can get my hands on. Wonderful Tonight, Pattie Boyd’s memoir of her life with George Harrison (and, after he stole her away from her husband, with Eric Clapton). Working Class Mystic, Garry Tillery’s “spiritual biography” about George’s constant spiritual seeking in his life and music. Living in the Material World, Martin Scorsese’s unexpectedly deep and engrossing film that puts George at the center of the Beatles, something that rarely happened while the band was still together.

One of the most fascinating new facts that’s just come to my attention is learning that George used to stow guitars all over his house. According to Boyd, George tucked away at least one guitar in every room, even the loo, in case he might be inspired to pick up an instrument and compose a song, or just play. Boyd writes that while George didn’t know how to write music—in fact, none of the Beatles did—he would work out a new song or musical idea by picking up a guitar and strumming it over and over until he was ready to bring it to the studio.

That got me thinking: what do I keep in every room of my house? What conveniently placed items do I rely on daily, even hourly? Reading glasses, for one. Phones—mine or my husband’s cell phones, plus three land lines (no joke), which we rarely use except to shoo away telemarketers. Pens--can’t go far without one. Tissues. Scissors. A water bottle. Things I don’t want to have to go searching for. Things I use as often as I use my hands or my eyes.


What we keep close at hand speaks volumes about what’s most important to us, what we need to function, or what keeps us in balance.


You can tell a lot about someone by the items they keep everywhere, ready to hand. Digital devices. Food, booze, cigarettes or other stimulants. Eye wear. Sweaters. Coffee cups. Media players.I know a woman who keeps tubes of hand cream and lip balm within arm’s reach so she’s never more than a few seconds away from dry skin relief. I also know people who now (or used to) keep a pint of whiskey or vodka on the nightstand, ready to help them get back to sleep if they waken during the night.

So it won't surprise anyone to know that what we keep close by speaks volumes—what’s most important to us, what we need to function, or what keeps us in balance.

I’m intrigued by George’s guitar habit. It validates my never being more than three paces from a pen. It also explains my husband’s multiple TVs and my middle son’s ever-present earbuds. Familiar objects offer comfort and balance, and remind us of who we are.

Think about what’s in every nook and cranny of your home, car, or carry-on, and ask yourself: what are your habits trying to tell you? Is it a passion, a heavy reliance, or an addiction?

Let's assume your attachment is a good thing. So why don't you pick up that pen or guitar or camera right now, and create something?

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