Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dynamic Dylan

I appreciate Bob Dylan and his music more each day.  His music moves beyond meaningful. His approach to people resonates deeper and increasingly gains my attention.  His plethora of lyrics prove pertinent and offer insight to nearly every situation I encounter. His music captures the American zeitgeist almost before the zeitgeist comes to fruition; in fact, he most likely is the zeitgeist.

I recently read this commentary about (and from) John Steinbeck's novel The Wayward Bus, and I think Dylan would strongly relate to the sentiment:

As Steinbeck wrote the first synopsis of The Wayward Bus in Spanish, he had originally chosen El Camion Vacilador as the book's title. He writes, "the word vacilador, or the verb vacilar, is not translatable unfortunately, and it's a word we really need in English because to be vacilando means that you're aiming at some place, but you don't care much whether you get there. We don't have such a word in English. Wayward has an overtone of illicitness or illegality, based of course on medieval lore where wayward men were vagabonds. But vacilador is not a vagabond at all. Wayward was the nearest English word that I could find." It is a shame that there exists no English equivalent for vacilador, as it truly is the most apt word to describe the novel's (as well as the bus's) trajectory.

This observation greatly reminds me of Dylan's belief that there is "no direction home."  As the title of my blog implies, I, too, seek home despite possessing all of the things that supposedly constitute "home."  Many artists have explored this idea; Wallace Stegner, in one of my favorite quotations, states, "That gypsy hobo life, that's it."  Where will I find my spiritual, physical, holistic home in this meandering medium?  It's a question to which I must find an answer.

And so we're back to our visionary Mr. Dylan, who never hesitates to tell people: "You've got a lotta nerve."  It's a phrase I need to use with greater frequency.  If I don't, I may finish a complete unknown, a mere rolling stone.  And I have to think twice, because that's not all right.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Overture: Awakening to the Arts

The Song of the Lark

"It was with a lightening of the heart, a feeling of throwing off the old miseries and sorrows of the world, that she ran up the wide staircase to the pictures . . . . But in that same room there was a picture -- oh, that was the thing she ran upstairs so fast to see! That was her picture. She imagined that nobody cared for it but herself, and that it waited for her. That was a picture indeed. She liked even the name of it, 'The Song of the Lark'....She told herself that that picture was 'right.' Just what she meant by this, it would take a clever person to explain. But to her the word covered the almost boundless satisfaction she felt when she looked at the picture."

~ Willa Cather

Without question, Cather's Song of the Lark remains one of my favorite books. And it is because of this severe enthusiasm for the arts that I, like Thea (Cather's protagonist), exist. The finest of Cather's novels, Song of the Lark explores the experience of a young girl's awakening to the the arts. This blog serves merely as a medley of musings for which I have great heart; I was not awake, was not even fully human, until I learned of belles-lettres and all that is beautiful and good aesthetically, philosophically, intellectually.

Without intellectual stimulation and hope, I am nothing. With this intellectual stimulation, I have an appreciation for beauty, for life, for learning, for all that is good in this world.