If you're a regular visitor to C&S, you may be wondering why I've only chosen to add this content to the site now, so much after the fact. And, given some of the, shall we say, unusual details involved, you might also wonder just how true this stuff really is--if maybe it's all a fiction I made up for attention, or just to mess with people, etc.
Well, obviously anyone who visits my site has to decide for themselves just what they think, both about me as a person and what I have to say. I can only express myself as clearly and openly as I can; I really don't have any control over the opinion of anyone who comes to read those thoughts. For whatever it's worth, though, one of the biggest reasons I kept quiet about certain portions of this for so long was that I very much wanted to AVOID being seen as an attention-seeker, a braggart, or like I was just out to inflate my own importance. Going to Jimi's shows and interacting with him afterward was not something I ever took for granted; it was always an absolutely amazing experience, and I was genuinely (if pleasantly) surprised by my own consistent good fortune in that regard. I always HOPED that things would go well when I went to a show, of course, but I was also very conscious of the fact that there were no guarantees, most of the time. I viewed each opportunity to talk to him as a gift and a privilege, not something I was just automatically entitled to because I happened to have done it a time or two before. And even after it became such a regular occurrence that he was recognizing me on sight whenever the two of us crossed paths at a concert, I still took great delight in reading about other folks' encounters with him, too. It thus seemed only fair and right to share my own experiences in the same way; my aim was to pass a little of that delight on to other fans in turn, particularly those who might not have the time, freedom, and/or wherewithal to attend shows and get an autograph and a hug and so forth themselves. And I would like to think, looking back from the distance of a few years, that by and large I succeeded.
At the same time, though, there always seemed to be some aspect of my meetings and conversations with Jimi that I wasn't comfortable with sharing in such a highly public context as C&S. The reasons for this varied; most often I felt it WOULD sound too much like bragging if I related the experience in every detail, and at other times I was also concerned that I might cause him some kind of difficulty if I spoke too freely. And in many cases, certain parts of what he had said and done just felt too personal to talk about with anyone except my closest and most trusted friends, particularly right after they happened. These were my own extra-special memories, after all, and the idea of putting them out where every troll on the internet could see them, and then maybe try to rain all over my parade about the whole business, didn't exactly hold very much appeal.
So I usually felt it was better and safer all around to edit the REAL story down by a fair amount when I went to write a given Concert Tale for the site, and either gloss over the problematic bits or just leave them out altogether if I couldn't think of a good way to "talk around" them. Again, my motivation for sharing these accounts in the first place was to spread my own joy around to other fans; it was never simply a matter of "hey, look at meeeeee," or an attempt to taunt anyone else with everything I had and they didn't. That sort of thing is just really not my style, and the reason I've decided to finally revisit these stories again now has nothing to do with such pettiness, either. In part it's an outgrowth of how much I've matured as an individual in all the years since I started going to shows; I'm far more comfortable in my own skin these days than I used to be, and certain recent life events have taught me just how important it is to speak and act with authenticity--to stand firm in one's personal truths even when they won't necessarily be well-received by others. And given the very unfortunate set of circumstances which surrrounded Jimi's untimely departure from this world, I also want to do my part to ensure he's remembered as the wonderful, warm-hearted and sweet-natured person he truly was, and for the way he lived rather than how he died. It's admittedly taken me quite a while to get my act together about it, but I can still think of no better way to accomplish that goal, and no more fitting tribute to his memory than to finally tell these stories in ALL of their glorious, amazing detail.
So I hope that you, my reader, will sit back and get comfortable, and take a little time out of your busy day to join me on this "journey through the past." And whatever your personal opinion may end up being in regard to some of the truths I have to offer, I hope you'll at least go away with something to think about, and maybe a smile and a bit of a warm fuzzy as well. Because there's an awful lot of love here, both in the memories themselves and in my telling of them--and love is pretty much what it's all about for anyone, no?
Anyway, links follow--enjoy.