Sunday, May 13, 2007

When Dylan Went Electric; Part One



Dylan was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, to the sizzling sounds of a light blue Fender Stratocaster at the exact moment when all traffic in Sweden switched from left to right hand driving customs.

According to most accounts his mother prematurely introduced him into this world after only 8 months and 3 days of pregnancy on September 2 1967 at 11.00 p.m., although to this day there is still some controversy about the exactitude of days he spent in his mother’s womb. The fact was that his mother, who was strongly opposed to giving things an objective existence by articulating it in writing, had never recorded the first day of her last menstrual period, and therefore had to rely on the lunar phases of the moon in order to calculate her son’s expected date of delivery.

Like all other children, Dylan was a peculiar child, and was rendered even more so with the help of his mother, who had her mind set on making him distinct. When she found that her newborn was prone to taking long midday slumbers like most other infants, she did her best to keep him awake by wetting her nipple in strong Turkish coffee before she breastfed him. While the taste of the sweet brew was so to his liking, that he latterly refused to feed off her, and, at a later age, even drink a glass of milk unless it was flavored with a spoonful of the special coffee, it only succeeded in keeping him from taking his midday nap for six consecutive days. On the seventh day both Dylan and his poor mother were so sleep deprived that they feel asleep and slept for 23 hours straight.

With the help of his mother and a fortune-inducing daily dose of the bubbly froth that forms on the Turkish coffee’s surface as it is boiled for the third time, Dylan grew into a remarkably sensitive child. On occasion, he would express to his mother, as she bent over to plant a goodnight kiss on his lips, his delight that the day was finally over. “It’s been one of those days where I feel so much”, he once said to her after having curled into bed an hour before his usual bedtime. “I don’t think I can take more of it today”. After such days his mother would often let him sleep late into the following morning, as to safeguard him from too many hours filled with susceptibility to the feelings and circumstances of others.

In the summer of 1980, he was a boy of 12 going on 13, with three square freckles on his nose, and strawberry blonde hair long enough to caress his shoulders whenever he chose to shrug them. He was sitting by the kitchen table resting his chin on an empty mayonnaise jar, when he told his mother that a child of six had died. “I feel it so much, I wish she had never been here at all”, he said. Then he rested his eyes on the window facing the garden, looking not through it but at it, inviting the slightly dirty glass to hypnotize his mind with a little help from the sun.

Dylan’s mother had grown accustomed to such remarks, and, in a sense, enjoyed them, for she knew that although his sensibility would leave their wear and tear on him, it was also the quality that set him apart from others. And let it be noted that Dylan was by no means a child altogether inclined to tragedy and downfalls. Just as his refined emotional awareness made him susceptible to suffering and distress, he would feel wit, joy and beauty to the point where it ached inside him and left goosebumps on his skin.

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