I am sitting in somebody's car while wearing big, pink sunglasses.
Dylan, Entertainment, poetry, Writing

Free Wheelin’ with Bob Dylan

For the past few weeks I’ve been on a Bob Dylan kick. I listen to Dylan on my short commute to and from work. I listen to him at home. I started on the early stuff and am working my way through most of his albums in our collection. I have my Dylan station on Pandora although I wished it played more of him and less of his musical kin.

I listened to Blonde on Blonde, twice, because I liked it so much. Now I am on John Wesley Harding. Next up is Nashville Skyline.

Do I like every song? No. And the lyrics of some of his earlier songs are undecipherable. But I can feel what he intended. As the salesman at the dealership said last week when he handed me the Blonde on Blonde CD I left in the car: “Dylan? He was a poet.”

Yes, Dylan’s music, at least in the stretch I am now listening, is poetry set to guitars and harmonicas.

And then, there are the lines where there is no mistaking what he meant. “You better start swimming or sink like a stone, cause the times they are a-changing.” “Heard ten thousand whispering and nobody listening. Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughing. Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter.”

I recall one time when I was in college, about the time that photo of me above was taken, when I stayed a couple of days in a cabin waiting for my boyfriend to arrive. He was my first real love but like so many boys then scared away. He took his time getting to the cabin because, unbeknownst to me, he was planning to end our relationship.

So I spent my time listening to Dylan — over and over and over. You know you know an album when you can sing the lyrics perfectly and predict the opening chords of the next song. I still remember.

I’ve stuck through Dylan through his many phases professionally and personally — well, I could have done without that embarrassing Victoria Secret ad — even to now when his voice has worn into a raspy growl.

Dylan’s produced an outstanding body of work. He changed the way people made music. He inspired change, too, in those who listened.

I have a long ways to go before I’m done with Dylan.

Now about that photo: My sister Christine sent the faded black and white photo and Katharine, the photographer at the newspaper, was able to work it up digitally. I remember the pink sunglasses and the shirt. I was in college but I don’t know who took the photo or who owned the car. I would say I look a little Dylanesque in that photo. And I like the curl at the top.


Buying the Fundamentals of Poetry

The book I’ve owned the longest is the Fundamentals of Poetry, a 32-page paperback I bought in the eighth grade. It’s water-stained and worn, but it has outlasted so many other books and moves.

I bought Fundamentals, published by The Language Kit Company of Chicago, through school. A teacher long ago wrote my first initial and Medeiros, the last name I was born with, on the front cover before she handed it to me.

I wanted to be a poet then, or at least understand how poetic English language works. I was fortunate to take a weekly creative writing class in fifth grade. Mr. Graves taught us about metaphors and similes, and how to use them. Unfortunately, my classroom teachers for the next few years didn’t.

The book is divided into these topics: meter; verse forms; devices of sound; devices of sense; stanza forms; special stanza forms; and poems for analysis.

So the dactylic foot contains three syllables with the stress on the first — like happiness and young again. And personification is the “giving of human characteristics to inanimate objects, ideas, or animals” such as a line from Sara Teasdale, “Bright April shakes out her rain-drenched hair.” At the end of the book, the reader is supposed to analyze Tenneyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

When I once was a poet, I used free verse, which “consists of lines that do not have a regular meter and do not contain rhyme.” Now, I write fiction. And, although I skip the parts about meter and verse forms, I still find this slim book as helpful as a ….