Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dylan on a Sunday

I spent the weekend with a group of church leaders from a congregation in Texas. At one point during the weekend, I was struck by how new my words sounded to me. I mean by that that I have a new take on things at odds with how I used to view things. It's not just a progression, one thing leading to the next in the same direction over time. This is change of course stuff. And I couldn't tell you how that happened. I didn't decide to chuck what I was doing before. I've just talked myself into someplace else over time. I'm as surprised as anyone. And at this moment I'm chalking it up to longevity. Even if you do the same thing, if you do it long enough, you'll find yourself in a different place.

The times they are a changin'.

I was thinking about that today in relation to Dylan (because both of the people who read this are kind of grumpy if I don't write something). The Newport folk festival. The Slow Train's a Coming tour (his "Christian" phase). The subsequent move away from explicit Christian material in his work. From the public's perspective, Dylan's changes have been dramatic lurches from one thing to another. And he disappointed a lot of people along the way. (It's striking to me how the Dylan devoted talk so negatively about his "Christian" phase).

But this isn't how Bob experienced things. From his perspective, he's just been doing the same thing for a long time. And even when you do the same thing, its meaning and meanings change. Everything's moving. The audience is moving. The world is moving. A person's life is moving. This is the nature of things. The times they are a-changin'. The same thing always becomes something else.

So, in light of that, a little Dylan wisdom from a 1980's interview:

The times are a-changin'. Every day. I'm trying to slow down every day, because the times may be a-changin', but they're going by awfully fast. 'When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish ways.'


Anonymous said...

Thanks for working with us this weekend!

happytheman said...

grumpy, i've been called a lot of things but hardly ever grumpy. Dylan has always evolved, even in his use of backup bands in creating his sound.