"He didn't want to be like everyone else. He just wanted to be Neil."

He was in many ways like an outsider — the guy who was often different from everyone else. But that was okay with him. He didn’t want to be like everyone else. He just wanted to be Neil. He loved being a rock drummer, but he also loved literature. He loved poetry. He loved the outdoors. He didn’t care what society thought a rock star was ‘supposed to be’ — he wasn’t afraid to be himself, and he didn’t really care about fame. He just wanted to be good at what he did — and he was! — and he just wanted to share his music with the fans.” — Donna Halper, media historian and former broadcaster credited with getting Rush their U.S. record deal, to NPR News (italics above mine)

I’ve never been much of a Rush fan; I could never get past Geddy Lee’s vocals. But I can understand why so many rock fans are saddened by the loss of Neil Peart. (I watched this unbelievable, nearly 9-minute drum solo twice yesterday and realized that yeah, this guy was kind of a big deal.)

Even more, I find myself admiring his intellect and sense of self as I read more about him. And the outsider thing I emphasized above really, really spoke to me. Even in situations when I was vaguely an insider, I have felt like an outsider. Only now, at this point in my life, am I truly okay with that.

Godspeed, Mr. Brilliant Drummer and Writer I Only Learned About Yesterday.

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