Who is John Galt?
Atlas Shrugged opens with a brakeman on a train whistling a tune. A symphony. A symphony of triumph. A lady insistently inquires what is this composition he sings. He brushes her off. She thought: For just a few moments-while this lasts-it is all right to surrender completely-to forget everything and just permit yourself to feel.
Fast forward through endless paragraphs of rhetoric and proselytizing. We are in Ms. Rand's Garden of Superheroes ("Galt's Gulch"), where a utopian compound of the best and brightest seclude themselves from the mediocre and the mundane; punishing the world by removing their genius from it. The composer of the breathtaking symphony, Richard Halley, resides here amongst those who would restart the world's motor. And spirit.
I was working earlier tonight and heard familiar chords pounding from the next room. Jeremy playing piano. One of the joys of having him live with us is getting free concerts every night while he rehearses on strings and keys. I listened, and it was beautiful, as usual. But something different; a fresh composition. I did not recognize it.
I ran to the dark room where he played and stood by his side. I listened and my eyes got a little raindroppy. It had not been a bad day. Just a day, a decent day. But I stood next to him listening and the memories of a thousand minutes bleeped through in abstract colour as I thought of nothing in particular. Listened, and felt, and tried to capture the two minutes in my mind for eternity. Moments that are impossible to recreate, to recapture, or to relive. Some moments you expect to be momentous, like experiencing the birth of a child.
Other moments just happen in the midst of chaos. There is no time to prepare; you just know it is something special. You accept the moment as a surprise gift.
I work in the visual arts; my greatest gift as a musician is being a vocal proponent of actual musicians, and occasionally designing stuff to complement their melodies. Music is an art form that is in its own unique and transcendent category in the creative universe. You can have music that makes you think a lot, like Bob Dylan. You can have music that makes you feel a lot, like Jeremy M. Long (there is much of both heart and head, with both sly folksters).
There is something about the ability of the right music at the right time to arrest your soul; to inspire and refresh and leech out toxins of the spirit.
I am glad my little brother makes music. I will do everything possible to support him making it for the world. His compositions should not be hidden, or tucked away, or confined to elite congregations of secret superheroes.
I do not even know if this song has a name yet. He finished and asked what I thought. I did not answer. I did not wish to shatter magic. I never told him what I thought. I did not cry. I left.
Who is Jeremy M. Long?