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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Old Country-George Jones

Maybe old country music is part of the reason I'm the kind of storyteller I am?

I've been thinking a lot about the story that some songs tell. I know a lot of you think country music sucks, can you stick around for just a minute and listen to a few of my favorite old country songs? These songs are like watching a movie. Close your eyes and listen.

Here's one of my favorites. He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones.



He kept her pictures on his wall, went half crazy now and then. Aw, but he still loved her through it all, hoping she'd come back again.

The visual is set up, you can see his walls, you can see him drinking or slamming his fists into the walls because he misses her so much. He might have been mad and hurt, but he still loved her. And we have no clue what happened. Because the point is, it doesn't matter what happened, he still loves her.

Found love letters by his bed, dated nineteen and sixty two, he had underlined in red, every single "I love you".

I went to see my friend today, oh but I didn't see no tears. All dressed up to go away. First time I'd see him smile in years.

He stopped loving her today. They placed a wreath upon his door. Soon they'll carry him away. He stopped loving her today.



How heartbreaking. Her love letters are on his nightstand, maybe even some laying on his bed. He's broken, the man is clearly grieving the loss of this woman he has loved and still loves. He underlines in red every time she said, "I love you" in her letters. Can you imagine loving someone that much? I can. I do love someone that much. And maybe the reason I can relate to this song has more to do with the fact that I see a little of myself in this man who loves this woman so much.

Then it gets even more emotional as you find out the narrator is going to see his friend, and there are no more tears, "first time I'd seen him smile in years". The the chorus, he stopped loving her today.

What a powerful short story. Just a few sentences and you, without a doubt, know how much this man loves this woman. Today, he stopped loving her because he's dead.

You know, she came to see him one last time, we all wondered if she would. And it kept running through my mind, well, this time, he's over her for good.


Good God, then she has the audacity to come to his funeral! And I hate her for making him suffer like that. That quick. I hate her and I can't believe she showed up for the funeral. And the narrator, he tells he agrees. "this time, he's over her for good."


He stopped loving her today. They placed a wreath upon his door. Soon they'll carry him away. He stopped loving her today.


These are the stories I want to write. This unforgettable love. The pain, finally ending. Isn't that what we all want? The pain and the hurt to just end?

4 comments:

Angie Poole said...

Michi,

You need to listen to Bob Dylan's audiobook--Chronicles: Volume One. It's about his journey as a folk singer, why he chose his genre, and the people who influenced him.

It's REALLY good. Sean Penn narrates.

Kay said...

I like ol George, too, especially that song. I listened to it for years as a kid before I "got it".

Heather said...

This breaks my heart. Some songs do that.

Dennis said...

This is one of my favorite George Jones songs for the many reasons you mention. Great choice and examples relating to what we're trying to do when we try to write a short story. Another good one is the singer/songwriter/poet Merle Haggard, the Okie from Muskogee. One of my favorite Merle songs (stories) is "Mamma's Hungry eyes." Wow!