I used to work for Bob Dylan’s ex-wife when the children were still growing and the dog was my best friend. I don’t know his current situation but it reminds me of days when I’d find his delightful son Jakob in the TV room at noon and my question was “Are you sick? Or sick of school?” It was mostly the latter, though he didn’t right out say.
Not every performer has the desire or constitution to lay themselves bare in front of the Nobel scholars and their historical lights. Doesn’t mean they’re not grateful.
While I haven’t talked to the family for a while, if Bob were listening, I’d say: If you’re hiding out from that formal world of tuxes, lectures, and expectations, maybe you could send someone in your place?
Ellie Wiesel is dead (sad for so many reasons). He’d be the perfect one; having survived concentration camps, he was uniquely suited to talk straight into our souls, not to mention conditioned to withstand anything. Plus, he’s done it before. His message was clear.
Then there’s the Native American woman Marlon Brando sent to collect his Oscar… but that didn’t work out so well for him as I remember.
So how about this? I’ll go. I volunteer to pick up your Nobel Prize.
But what will I speak about? Maybe I’ll quote Ezra Pound: “The poem that strays too far from the song is corrupt!” (Which Pound would be remembered for, not to mention The Cantos, if he hadn’t devolved into a Nazi, a stance that used to be abhorred.)
Or I’ll say: You stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. And talk about how we each need to be our own heroes, standing up for truth, justice, and the kind and loving way.
What if it’s supposed to be strictly about literature? (I’ll have to google to find that out.) Then I’ll quote Theodore Rhoethke.
“The dark has its own light,” I’ll say. And Bob, if you’re listening from out there in cyberspace, maybe you could suggest how to elaborate?
I could quote you. Pull out years of lyrics, even say things you said to me, the time standing under the night sky when I asked if you knew the names of the stars and you said, “Yes,” and pointed above us. “That one’s Fred.”
Since I’m a woman, you must give me leeway to find the perfect gown. Otherwise, I might have to resort to something that is suited more for prom. Don’t make me go looking old Southern Gentry or like a player in “Gone With the Wind.”
Also, to anyone reading this, especially if you’re prone to judge and throw stones, knowing you’d never be too busy to collect your Nobel, maybe you could assume that people, especially artistic ones, have reasons that you know nothing of. Writers often think their work speaks for them. And speaks so loudly that they could be proud but still hide out at home.
Just my first draft supposition. I could be wrong.