Over more than four decades, Dylan has produced 500 songs and more than 40 albums. Does he ever look back at the music he’s written with surprise?
“I used to. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t know how I got to write those songs. Those early songs were almost magically written,” says Dylan, who quotes from his 1964 classic, “It’s Alright, Ma.”
“Try to sit down and write something like that. There’s a magic to that, and it’s not Siegfried and Roy kind of magic, you know? It’s a different kind of a penetrating magic. And, you know, I did it. I did it at one time.”
Does he think he can do it again today? No, says Dylan. “You can’t do something forever,” he says. “I did it once, and I can do other things now. But, I can’t do that.” […]
What does the word “destiny” mean to Dylan?
“It’s a feeling you have that you know something about yourself – nobody else does – the picture you have in your mind of what you’re about will come true,” says Dylan. “It’s kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it’s a fragile feeling. And if you put it out there, somebody will kill it. So, it’s best to keep that all inside.”
What a great interview! Dylan talks like he sings, with a drawl, drawing out the vowels. He was forthright and humourous, also self-effacing. He says he was never that public ‘Bob Dylan.’
And how do I feel about Dylan? I love him more than ever, not as an icon but as a great human being. In 1988, I submitted this painting below to CBC radio for a contest. The prize was a complete-works-mongraph album. Sadly I won second prize, an orange CBC T-shirt, as the winner was a woman who had been cured of alcoholism from listening to Dylan’s Christian albums. I left the painting with the CBC and suggested that they give it to their Dylan expert, Prof. Rob Bowman of Toronto. He sent me a thank you note.
Bob Dylan, 1988 watercolour on paper,
The image is a composite of a couple of album covers and my own colours. My son later complained that he wanted that painting, so I got the slide made into a large print and framed it for his Christmas present. I’m very happy to share it with you now, hope you don’t mind.