8/12/21: Weird experiment day!
Today I am going through every page I have in Life is a Fountain and adding something hopefully relevant to it from the annals of Clerkmanifesto. It’s my desperate attempt to freshen up everything after being away for a couple weeks. So here you go:
I am so excited to report that I will be the new (co)author of the compilation book:
Bob Dylan Tells You How to Live Your Life
This book takes excerpts from Nobel Prize Laureate Bob Dylan’s lyrics, comments, speeches, and writings and assembles them into words of wisdom to guide the young of all ages (the “forever young”) on their journey through life.
And, excitingly, in a sneak preview, exclusive to clerkmanifesto, I am here today to present the first ever excerpts from: Bob Dylan Tells You How to Live Your Life!
But first, a note on annotation and structure:
Bob Dylan Tells You How to Live Your Life is made up of the direct quotes, in bold type, of Nobel Prize Laureate Bob Dylan, like so:
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.
This is followed in parenthesis by the source, like so:
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. (lyric)
The possible sources of attribution include the following:
(lyric), (written work), (speech), (interview), (in conversation), (plagiarized), (high level inner-circle source)
This is all followed by a brief, exactingly clear passage explaining just what, specifically, Mr. Dylan is telling us about how to live our lives. Like so:
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. (lyric)
Make sure you’re out of the wind when you open your folder of notes on Bob Dylan quotes.
I hope then our format is all clear to you, because now it is time to proceed to our first ever preview of,
Bob Dylan Tells You How to Live Your Life
If I wasn’t Bob Dylan I’d probably think Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. (interview)
Live life like you would think you had all the answers if you weren’t you.
You say I’ve said things I’ve never said and then interpret them to mean things they don’t even mean. (in conversation)
The more we speak the more we contradict ourselves.
Trust yourself, and look not for answers Where no answers can be found. (lyric)
You might want to consider purchasing a book other than Bob Dylan Tells You How to Live Your Life.
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard. And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall. (lyrics)
Wear a hat.
I don’t want my daughter dating a teacher. (high level inner-circle source)
A wise man should respond to a wise man wisely, but to a foolish man foolishly.
Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness. (plagiarism)
Even a charmed life has a full share of pain, so it’s up to you whether you want to read the 822 page Moby Dick one time, let alone twice!
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore. You may not see me tomorrow. (lyric)
Be careful how much you make fun of Bob Dylan because he’s getting pretty old and you are gonna be weeping some pretty salty tears when he goes down.
Bob Dylan and I were having a late afternoon cocktail at Lawless Distilling Company, yet another small batch distillery that also serves superb cocktails within a mile of my house. It’s amazing how many of them there are, and as much as I’m sure Bob enjoys my company, these little hyper sophisticated speakeasys do their share in getting him to fly out to visit me for any Thursday where he can manage it.
So we were sitting at the little bar there, enjoying our drinks so much we got seconds, this one created with a gin they made themselves, St. Germaine, fresh passion fruit, and god knows what else, when, as so often happens, someone came up to Bob. “I’m so sorry to disturb you.” He said. “But I just have to tell you how much your incredible songs have meant to me. They are true masterpieces and have given real shape and meaning to my life. I just…” He had to take a little breath because he was getting so worked up and emotional. “I just had to come over with this one opportunity to say that not even the Nobel Prize is enough to say how much you have given to all of us. You are truly the greatest of all songwriters and poets, and I can never thank you enough.”
Bob barely looked sideways at the man, and then did something I can only describe as a half grunt, half nod. Then he stared back down into his half finished pale golden cocktail. And that was it.
I smiled behind my hand. Then I took pity on the besotted fan.
“Hi.” I said. “I’m acting as Bob’s grunt interpreter for him today. By his grunt he means to say he’s touched by what you had to say, and actually quite agrees with it, but is both understandably wary of enthusiastic strangers and of his own insatiable interest in praise. So he wants you to know, by his grunting, that from the bottom of his heart, bless you, you have made his wonder of a life possible, and by understanding his work you have helped to make it complete, but this is all terribly uncomfortable for him so he’s hoping it can end as soon as possible.”
The man laughed. Then he looked at Bob, said “Thank you”, nodded at me, and then he walked away.
Bob looked sideways at me now. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.” He said.
I sang “Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes…”
“What?” Bob asked.
“Here, we’ll roleplay. You be me.” I said.
“Aw, man.” Bob complained.
“I went and checked out your blog.” I said. “I read a few of them. They’re cute.”
Bob just stared at me. I think he was getting a bit drunk, so I kicked him, in a reminding way.
“Cute?” He said.
“Anyway I think it’s great you write a blog. You’re a good writer. Good for you!”
“And your point?” Bob asked.
“Is that I too am overcome with hyperbolic praise. These people just don’t leave me alone!”
“What do they put in these drinks?” Bob asked.
“Maybe their gin is extra strong.”
“You are a good writer.” Bob said, disarmingly.
“Thanks Bob, so are you.”
Thank you for responding to my Begging Week entreaty on Clerkmanifesto, and coming to The Dylan Page, if that, indeed is what you’ve done.
You are probably eager to see our collaboration!
But in case you are simply a Dylan fan, roaming the Internet, or here by accident, or simply a Life is a Fountain reader exploring the vast and intricate world of Life is a Fountain, I do feel some explanation is in order.
Bob Dylan and I regularly have cocktails, and drinks together. We were drinking Cognac, again. We’re kind of stuck on Cognac. We like it, there’s a lot to try, I got Bob somehow to invest heavily in it, and it would be weird to waste super expensive cognac. So we drink it, and love it, but have started to talk about Scotch. We’re both restless drinkers, always wanting to try the next thing. There’s always next things.
I said to Bob “Have you checked out Life is a Fountain yet. It has a Dylan Page.”
“There are a lot of Dylan pages.” He said ruefully. “But yeah. I wish you wouldn’t film me like that.” (note: see below). He paused, and, strangely talkative, added “I like the cartoon characters in your library though. You should do that with one with one of my pictures.”
Bob is very reticent about any use of his music, fame, lyrics, writing, persona, and history. But oddly he’s always looking to get his visual art out there. He draws and paints. Kind of like how Michael Jordan wanted to play baseball. It’s okay, I guess.
I went looking through the back alleys of the Internet for the oldest drawings of his I could find. I got a couple and set to my editing tricks on my phone.
I knew he would enjoy not being talked to for half an hour.
Finally I showed him a semi finished picture.
“Yeah. That’s good!” He said to my surprise.
This first one combines a very old drawing of Bob’s and puts it with The Little Prince into a reading area of my library:
Finally there is this one. I’m pretty sure Bob’s illustration was made for “This Wheel’s on Fire”, probably around the time he actually wrote “This Wheel’s on Fire”. The gulf in quality between the song and the sketch is extraordinary, and even faintly encouraging. Nevertheless, I put the figures into my library. I don’t much like the picture, but Bob adores it. He insisted for some reason that I immediately email it to Jacob, who no doubt is as perplexed about it all as I am.
Here’s an old post concerning Dylan, probably before I even started drinking with him!
The picture, of course, is new.
Two figures that I write about frequently are Vincent Van Gogh and Bob Dylan. Nevertheless they rarely appear together. I don’t think they know each other, though they may have met once or twice at one of those parties one ends up at that are just wall to wall celebrities. Bumming around town one hardly even sees a single celebrity, but then one pops ones head in at some high roller’s soiree and bam, it’s all “I never thought I’d see Einstein chatting with Boyz II Men and Gummo, the fifth Marx Brother.” But those parties aren’t really the kind of place where one gets to know someone, even if one might want to.
But because I never talk about Dylan and Van Gogh together we never get a chance to discuss the issue that invariably leaps to mind every time I bring up either of them, namely:
Who Was the Greater Artist, Bob Dylan or Vincent Van Gogh?
Van Gogh: Unstable, Passionate, troubled, and in love with life.
Dylan: Mercurial, hard to pin down, iconoclastic, cool, and seedy.
The edge goes to Dylan here because of the ear slicing incident.
Van Gogh: Labored in unwanted obscurity through life. Pretty much owned the “most favorite artist ever” charts through the 1980’s and 90’s.
Dylan: Feverishly respected by his peers and ever sporting a large, fiercely devoted fan base, he nevertheless has tended to be outcharted by lesser talents.
The edge to Van Gogh as no one ever complains about his voice.
3. Ancillary Products
Van Gogh: Cards, key chains, mugs, posters, movies, umbrellas, and really anything you can slap an image on.
Dylan: Chevrolets, women’s underwear, harmonicas.
The edge to Van Gogh. Neither of them went the super classy route, but Van Gogh gets credit for being dead during it.
Van Gogh: Straw hat, “Arty Farmhand”, scowl.
Dylan: Black hat, “Hobo Chic”, scowl.
The edge to Dylan. Sometimes it seems like Van Gogh doesn’t care.
5. Financial Value of Work
Van Gogh: Now that we’ve decided to give all the money in the world to a couple thousand people, there’s not much left that’s so rare and valuable that they have to fight over it. Van Gogh paintings fit into that tiny grouping.
Dylan: Works hard and can sell out your mid-sized arenas, but until he’s willing to do a more fan friendly Vegas style performance he won’t land many of those juicy corporate shows.
The edge to Van Gogh. Someone should do the decent thing and dig him up and put him in a solid gold casket.
6. Range of Talents
Van Gogh: Besides being as great a painter as anyone ever, he was also as good at drawing as anyone else ever. He wrote nice letters. He could also preach.
Dylan: In addition to all the music stuff, he paints, writes excellent quality non fiction, and is not a bad actor. He’s done a bit of film making and no small amount of political activism, though he might not like it if you called it that. He is also a good lay historian of American Music.
The edge to Dylan, despite the fact that he has done no notable blogging.
Popularity, Ancillary Products, and Financial Value of Work to Van Gogh for a score of three.
Image, Style, and Range of Talents to Dylan for a score of three.
Curses, it’s a tie!
Only a nationwide vote can settle this now.