Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dylan on a Sunday

Satellite radio this morning. Listened to the station, The Loft. First song, Van Morrison. Second song, Bob Dylan. That's already a good morning. The Dylan song was "When I Paint My Masterpiece."

Masterpiece. That's a tall word. And not one you want lurking around when you're writing a dissertation. It's hard enough to put one word after another without them having to be so many sparkling bits of glass for a stained glass window.

Honestly, most days I'm writing to finish. If I happen to put things together in an interesting or compelling way, so much the better. But there are days when I think to myself, "dang, this could be something." These are dangerous thoughts.

Its words like masterpiece that keeps dissertations from getting written. After all, its often the first great album that keeps the second one from coming out, or that keeps Pet Sounds from being released for years (Brian Wilson's rumored "masterpiece").

I believe in masterpieces, though perhaps not for me. But I also believe they are mysterious. They're as much lightning in a bottle as they are sweat and toil (though I do believe they also require sweat and toil). I think Dylan, who has had a few in his career, knows this. Life is what happens while you're waiting for your masterpiece. So, I'm going to find the best ordinary words I have, string them together as quickly as possible, and live my life.

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