This is my fifth anniversary as a blogger; I tend to post on a bi-weekly basis, and my readership varies-- typically, it's about 100-150 readers (now and then, as many as 300), but any number is okay with me. I know I'm not a celebrity, and I've never expected millions of page views. In fact, I'm grateful there are some folks who find my posts worth reading.
But the past several weeks were anything but typical, as any Rush fan knows; and nearly 13,000 folks kindly stopped by to read my previous blog post-- a tribute to drummer par excellence Neil Peart, who died way too young, after a courageous three year battle with cancer.
Since Neil died, I still find myself feeling somewhat disoriented at times; I mean, I know he's gone, but it still just doesn't feel right. Many fans have reached out to me online and we all shared our emotions and our recollections. I also spoke to Neil's dad, and his sister, and his closest friend, and I sent along my condolences to Alex, Geddy, and their families. I wrote a newspaper article about his career, and I was invited to talk about him on several podcasts and radio interviews. Fans told me they appreciated what I said, but to be honest, I kept wishing I didn't have to do it. I kept wishing Neil were still here.
If you're anything like me, perhaps you find some comfort in the day to day routine. The new semester has begun at the university where I work; I'm teaching three courses and I advise the school newspaper. And I continue to research and write free-lance articles about media history. (I like to keep busy, especially in difficult times.) Meanwhile, I'm about to have another birthday on Valentine's Day; God willing, I'll be 73.
Sometimes, something will happen in politics and I remember a conversation I had with Neil: he used to get really annoyed at politicians who only cared about money and power, or who acted in ways he considered heartless. I couldn't agree more. He also wasn't a fan of the endless arguments some people keep having on social media. But speaking of Twitter and Facebook, I think he'd be proud of the Rush fan base-- just as during his life, Rush had fans from all over the world who came from just about every political point of view, after he died, fans united around the sense of loss they felt, and debates about political issues seemed far less important than honoring someone whose music had changed so many lives.
And here we are, still trying to make sense of what happened, still trying to cope with something that seems so unfair. As for me, I am making donations to some of my favorite charities in his name (check out DonorsChoose.org if you haven't already). And while it's difficult to get used to his not being with us, the friendships he helped to create and the love he inspired from the fans lives on. At times like these, I am so grateful to be part of the extended Rush family, and to join with them in celebrating Neil's life.