Saturday, June 14, 2008


You do not have to love Bob Dylan or even appreciate him to read this. What is helpful is that you love music, its history, the notion of a troubadour, and truth. I submit Dylan stands for the former and the latter. Today, I started reading the first installment of his personal history-his autobiography, for lack of a better term.; the title to which is Chronicles, Volume One. I am reticent to use the word memoir- it sounds too stuffy for him. On the other hand, his writing bests most of the memoirs I've bothered to read. Dylan's love of language is not limited to verse. I'm only on page 35 and his use of metaphor has lured me. I am looking forward to the next volume, and there's almost 270 pages left of this one. He's painted a picture of the folk scene in New York as it was when he arrived in the early sixties. He pulls no punches; his words are the hammer of John Henry, the urgency of Woody Guthrie, the passion of MLK, and the anger of Jesus. Truth mattered to Dylan before he knew it did. He burned with a white-hot zeal for it. He was a chameleon too, an enigma. Misunderstood, partially, by his own making, he lied regularly to those who inquired about his upbringing- he made an image of himself, behind which he could hide, but strangely, through which many would come to see themselves. By his penchant for falsehood, he covertly exposed his charade-my perception is he wanted to stay hidden so his words could do the talking. Let me be clear, I can't advocate for living behind a mask, save for when one is unsure of whose they are, of where they're headed. So far, it looks like he was trying to find his way in a rapidly changing world. Music saved him, protected him, and grew him up to the man he is today.

Like I said, I'm just getting started with this book. I'm expectant; I know his journey led him eventually to the cross. Stay tuned, I'll post more as I wander through his tale of hope & woe.

1 comment:

Danny Bryant said...

derek webb does some great dylan covers.