Dylan, Tuesday morning

By: Raymund Fernandez October 18,2016 - 09:13 PM

I am wondering if I should make myself another cup of coffee. There will be consequence. There always is. But I am also wondering what to write about. Given the trajectories of the current world, there is no lack for things to write about. Yes, CNN is playing as I am writing this: stories of the assault on Mosul, the U.S. American elections, the usual reports on the Spratleys – war, death, and the great potential of it. And people are debating whether Bob Dylan is a writer or not; Or, deserves the Nobel peace prize for literature.

I decide in favor of another cup, which must come with another stick of cigarette. This luxury I will not have too much of if they make smoking illegal here. And I am reminded that ISIS also arrests smokers. Although I have a strange suspicion these people smoke when no one is looking. I am contemplating all these sitting next to the family’s tortoise. We’ve shortened his/her name to Mr. Toise now. He’s doing well, moving about slowly like he/she has the rest of his/her long life to go wherever he/she wants. I am wondering what he/she might say about Dylan getting the Nobel.

Mr. Toise reminds me always of “suspension of judgement” as a technique for creative production. It’s what I need to be able to do art. I can’t tell exactly where the text is going when I write. I would not be able to write if I judged every word I lay down. I really just think away, judging what I write somewhat very lightly and loosely. I must not be too strict with myself. I will edit the work anyway after all is written down. I am really just watching my brain do the writing. And yet, my fingers do what they are supposed to do, caressing the keyboards, so to speak, enjoying themselves along the way. I balance the rest of my body on one butt at a time. I swing back and forth like a pendulum this way. These are techniques I did not invent all by myself. I collect ideas from reading countless books. But am I really a writer?

I have to wonder that. But only because I do an “awful” lot of things besides writing. This was an age old tradition for local writers until only recently.

Every writer now coming “of age” do or did things besides just writing. They were or are also teachers, attorneys, political leaders, a variegated range of professionals holding on to day jobs, and writing whenever and however they can. It is not easy. But it never was. There has never been a surfeit for writing opportunities here. We find our own peculiar way to survive. There are no fixed roadmaps for making it. One does what one must. One finds her/his way. But for most, it is still the old Bohemian dream, the way of the wanderer. But are we really writers?

Dylan was like most of us, a wanderer. But not in the way that the Beatles were wanderers. And please, I love the Beatles. But the Beatles were pop performers. And so they will always be judged that way and did deserve their Grammies. Dylan was never quite a pop-artist like them. Dylan confronted the Rightist Fascism of the times. His words and music reflect the Romantic and Bohemian urge for freedom, justice, and the rights of the downtrodden. At a time when these values are challenged once again by a rising Rightist Fascism masquerading as new-age Populism, the thought of his life and works cited finally with the Nobel make important sense. Because the Nobel was and has always been awarded to make a political statement in behalf of freedom and peace. It has never been a test for the quality of and the definitions of literature. For that, we have the Pulitzer and various other international awards, which remain to this day the arenas to decide what “real” literary writing is, who are writers, and who is the best of all of them.

I spent last night with my friends Danny and Vic drinking wine and listening to vinyl records by Bob Dylan. The music was still okay. But the words…the words…and the stories they still tell, they are what are beautiful. The coffee, the smoke, and Mr. Toise, tell me they will always stay that way.

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