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An Out-Of Body Experience This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in a church where the wedding has been/ lives in a dream." It was not a song that changed my life. Rather, it was a song that changed my mind. The Beatles seem to have that effect on many people.

Perhaps my greatest discovery ever was made when I was nine. Paul McCartney's not-exactly-hit movie "Give My Regards to Broad Street" was on TV, and my dad summoned me from my room. "Listen ..." he said, and he sat me down on the couch. I can recall my thoughts at the time: Uh-oh. Not a cartoon. Turn on brain now. Click. Fizzzzzzzzzzzzz. That fizz occurred when I heard "Eleanor Rigby" for the first time. It was beyond comprehension. Amazing.

I went numb. Never before had I heard anything so mysterious, so huge, so strange. The orchestration was perfect. It boggled my nine-year-old mind that something written by a rock group could use a string orchestra in such an elegant way. It had so much depth; it was so dark, yet so colorful. The heavy basses and cellos balanced out the sharp violas and bold violins while the melody danced above with light, graceful steps. It was almost Gothic in a way - "Father McKenzie wiping his hands as he walks from the grave/no one was saved." Frightening.

It was like a beautifully choreographed ballet; it moved like liquid and had no superfluous accents or melodramatic themes. The odd counterpoint and the creative stereo sound effects blew me away. All of a sudden I was floating around a state of complete oblivion, totally absorbed in the song. It was like an out-of-body experience.

I could see "all the lonely people." I could feel their presence. For weeks everyone I saw was a mere shadow, and they were everywhere. What had happened to my previous world of Barbie dolls, Girl Scouts, and baking cookies with Mom? How could I have felt content in that peaceful, idyllic, bubble world? Evidently, the bubble had popped, and I was psyched.

I became concerned with the different ways to play a phrase on the piano, and instead of asking "when?" or "where?" I began to ask "why?" and "how?" I woke up.

The awakening felt wonderful. I realized how empty life was without things that make me think, and things that make me feel. I was so lucky then. My mind was my attic. It was filled with wonderful things just lying around, waiting to be explored, waiting for the day it would be opened, cleaned, and refilled. Finally the day came, and my attic mind was uncovered by "Eleanor Rigby," cleansed with the spectrum of colors of the music, and replenished with Beatles' idealism.

All of a sudden, everything meant something. Before I had lived in a simple, two-dimensional world where Mom and Dad molded me into whatever they wanted. When I found I could think on my own, that I could have feelings other than love for family and friends and contempt for boys and other icky creatures, I was free from their sheltering grasp. Forever.

I discovered a whole gamut of emotions I never knew existed, such as that weird paranoia I felt after hearing "Eleanor Rigby" and seeing her army of lonely people, each armed with their own "face that [they] keep in a jar by the door." I kept wondering what they were all thinking. Sometimes I think I might be one of her lonely people, but I know I'm not.

Seven years later I am writing this reflection, and although I am not exactly the same person I was then, I am still listening to "Eleanor Rigby" for inspiration. The daunting melody still plagues my mind; and ideas, emotions, and visions wash over me like a great tidal wave again and again. How something can be so eternally magical will always elude me, and I never intend to find out. I'm quite content just surrendering to the mystic power of the Beatles. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Poet_in_Motion This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm
Oh, I love this. It's gorgeously written, and I, too, feel like the Beatles' (my favourite band of all time) music have the most wonderful effect on people. Keep on writing, you're very good at it!
 
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