On grief, loss and the power of words to heal
- Written by Richard A Harris
When John Lennon wrote Imagine in 1971 it was just after an era of great social change and hope. People were moved by the flower power hippie movement, the civil rights movement and music that was all about love and peace. Since then, there sadly have been hundreds of wars, multiple genocides, ongoing slavery and episodes of famine and terrible poverty. Plenty of material for a dystopian novelist. Or was it time to go against the trend and write a novel based again on the radical notion of love? A utopian vision. A manifesto of love that could be applied to the real world. What better inspiration than Lennon’s classic song?
My book Imagine aims to be the novel version of Lennon’s song. It takes the world as it is, troubled, problematic, difficult and Imagines it through the lyrics of the song. As a father and husband, I too have faced great stress and trouble my wife and family. At age 39, my beautiful wife, Tine, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She dealt with it so incredibly bravely, with such generosity and energy for those around her. She made sure she led as full a life as she could possibly do. Even three days before she was admitted for her final hospital stay in January 2020, at age 57, she was dancing with me at the Elton John concert in the Hunter Valley, making friends with Tommy Little, one of her favourite TV personalities who was sitting right behind us.
Her disease made our family take long, wonderful breaks together and we will always cherish those times. Our children adored Tine as did so many people and it was really only with her generosity and support that I could find the time and space to write.
Imagine weaves in and out of the lives of characters that have an intimacy with love, intelligence and cooperation. We find ourselves in the new reality where Lennon’s words can come true. A world of harmony and harmonics, waves that wash over us like the ocean that features so much in the book. Waves that become the constant in an ever changing but amazing world. Since Tine’s passing, I had to find the strength to move on to finishing the book, having it edited, working on covers and getting it published.
The grief of missing your best friend is immense. I still look to the lounge when I am making a tea for myself and almost imagine her there reading on her ipad, feet up, relaxing, almost asking her out loud if she wants a cuppa. A wry smile, good memories, so many good memories.
There is joy in how people react to the book. I love to talk with people on what they make of it. So many say they would love to live in this world. And that is exactly the kind of response I love. The fact that people have been able to Imagine this world as real. It’s a radical book. The song is radical. Love is radical. But love is also believable and imaginable for most people. So, I look forward to more reading it and enjoying the stories, the characters, the concepts and ideas. The food, the coffee, the smells, markets and beaches, cities and wildernesses. It is a multi-genre book. Romance, futurist, utopian, contemporary fiction, and due to the nature of Imagine being a global tune it’s also a kind of travelogue for many exotic and interesting parts of the world.
Imagine does not lack a villain or two. It will leave you wondering about many things. My dedication is to Tine of course. The girl I hit on the head with a golf club on our second date. The girl who loved me despite my obvious flaws. The girl I loved travelling with all over this amazing world of ours. The girl I chatted to for 3 minutes after I got home from work every day and we’d lay on the couch and still touch toes after 29 years. Imagine.
Richard A Harris is a vascular surgeon who loves words and lives in Sydney.
Imagine is available in ebook or Paperback format:
To purchase a copy head to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Imagine-Richard-Harris/dp/064507960X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=