Walking home from the bar the air was seasonally crisp. Back inside the place I had found myself explaining to a good friend, who was a little worried about me, just what I’ve been doing for the last five days -- functioning as a self-appointed, round-the-clock editor of what is the most terrifying/compelling story I’ve been close to in my life -- the Harvey murders.
But why? Maybe, my friend suggested, some in their grief could resent what they see as my using or even magnifying the tragedy. OK. My sobering walk’s thoughts on that topic have been gathered, here they are:
My aim, however, has been to be useful to a smaller audience -- people who knew and cared about the Harveys. The little Fan District-centered world I know best is changing as I write these words. We won’t be the same again. This bizarre grief spell is unprecedented. Those who understand what I mean with that -- you are my audience, wherever you are as you read this.
We are, for a time, a community. This is our Kennedy assassination. This nightmare is our 9/11. Our Katrina.
The fog of pain in the air I’ve been breathing is the collective pain felt by decades of associations -- many longtime friends, people I’ve worked and partied with, people I’ve insulted, people I’ve schemed with, people I’ve played sports with, people I’ve helped and people who’ve helped me, people who’ve created a generation’s music and danced to it. Then there are our community’s children; my granddaughter, as was little lost Stella, is a nine-year-old at Fox Elementary.
As a pair, Bryan and Kathy Harvey were naturally cool and talented in ways few people are. He was a gifted musician/songwriter. He had a style that was risky, yet easy to like. As an artist, he was respected because he went his own way, rather that try to ride some artificial wave. In her professional realm, she was also an innovator, a trend-setter. She didn’t much need someone else to tell her where the boundaries were to do with style and aesthetics. Within a copycat world of retailing cookie cutters, she fashioned a World of Mirth.
They had two beautiful daughters, whose horrific deaths will haunt us forever as our ultimate standard for evil. No, we weren’t prepared to accept such a level of depravity existed in our midst. We pray our cops can soon deliver genuine relief.
In the morning I’ll go to the Byrd Theatre for the ceremony, hopefully early enough to get inside. And, using my job’s tools as unobtrusively as possible, I’ll make a record of what I think calls for it.Yes, I know some well-meaning people, who see things differently than I, might say I should do no such a thing, that it’s exploiting grief, framing ritual as spectacle. OK. I’ll take my risk with that. I have to trust my instincts not to let my audience down.
After my coverage of the service at the Byrd, I’ll continue to post new information about the Harvey killings and various reactions to them. However, SLANTblog will also begin to have stories about other subjects, along the lines of its usual fare before Jan. 2. A gradual return to normalcy -- we’ll see how it goes.
Soon, it will give me great pleasure to use SLANTblog to spread the word on what gets going to establish fitting remembrances to a family that represented the best in us: Four beings I’ve chosen to believe remained brave and felt the vibe of one anothers' love to the very end.