This morning I listened to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and there was a whole lot I loved about it, and there’s a whole lot I love about him, or at least the him that I know, and of course, I don’t know him at all, not really, but one of the things I loved was that he took the time, six months or so, to think about what it meant to win that Prize, because it had never before been given to a writer of song, that was cool, but the other was the bit about Buddy Holly.
Once upon a time, I decided that I was Buddy Holly reincarnated.
And I had a really good reason, too. He was the only person I could find who died right around the time I was conceived, or actually just after I was conceived, who I kind of liked, and being the romantic type that I am, I decided he’d do just fine.
I totally dug Peggy Sue, and That’ll Be the Day, and I’d seen that flick La Bamba, which wasn’t the Buddy Holly story, but Richie Valens was in that same plane crash, but La Bamba was a rockin’ song, too and of course I'm one of the weirdos that can sing like, every single verse of American Pie, and that’s because Don McClean’s heart was broken the day the music, Buddy Holly, died.
But the story Bob told was of going to see Buddy in concert, not too long before he died, and sitting up front and Buddy looking him right in the eye and I thought far out, maybe Bob is channeling Buddy. I mean, while I could probably do a decent rendition of Peggy Sue, the words are pretty easy, and I'm not afraid to do that fun little thing with the voice, but I can’t play a guitar for nothing, I mean, I learned the 3 or 4 chords I needed to do a few Dylan tunes back when I was a teenager, but never much stuck with it.
Hendrix had happened by that time. All Along the Watchtower, a Dylan song, no way I was going to go there.
But that wasn’t really it at all, not Buddy Holly, and not the thoughtfulness of his speech, one that he worked on, and one that was, after all, about literature. It was about the Odyssey, and Ahab, and the horror those Masters of War ignored on that all too quiet western front.
I read those books, too. Lots more, too.
And that wasn’t all of it either, because within that speech, Bob told us about learning from literature, from life, and even from school, about learning how to judge the difference between right and wrong. Great stuff, as always.
Dylan, all the way.