Yesterday I heard Knocking on Heaven’s Door (different versions) 3 times before 10am. That got me thinking about Caitlin, and about Bob Dylan. Here’s a text she wrote, in November, about him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Something to read on a frigid Saturday.
The more I think about the Dylan thing the more I
think it is wrong. I think there’s a whole thing where
we’ve got this idea of the arts being lumped in
together. That all forms of creativity fall together
and — I think like Simeon said — create overlapping Venn
But what if they weren’t the overlapping Venn
diagrams that we all kind of just assume they are?
Perception is the question, right? Music is words +
sound ….but it is reminding me of the arguments in
alternative medicine. Cancer feeds on sugar cells.
Cancer dies in alkaline environments. Subtract sugar
cancer dies. Drink alkaline water and cancer dies. It
misses the point that you can’t just add or subtract
things to your body–that the body is designed to
take whatever you give it and do what it’s going to
do to maintain homeostasis. You could say homeostasis
— the equilibrium we feel and enjoy as humans
physiologically — is the same as a FEELING,
generally. Ok? So like — maybe arts aren’t defined
the way we define them at all. Maybe they’re really
entirely separate. The feeling you get from a
painting that moves you is as separate from the
feeling you get from music as a worn out kidney is
from a worn out liver. Sure they’re all organs. But if
your lungs fail your homestasis will be threatened in
a way much different than if your liver fails. How do
we FEEL when we see a painting we love. How does
that compare to when we read a sentence we love.
And to when we listen to a song that makes our
heart swell. I know for me all those feelings are very
different. They feel different, they seem like they’re
coming from different parts of my brain. They aren’t
just all coming from the art department. Or the
I guess it kind of goes a step further though
because yes if I clang spoons together and start
yelling that can be called music. But what makes all
of these different forms GOOD. What makes them
provoke a feeling etc etc all the stuff that basically is
needed to win a Nobel prize. It has to be these
things that we feel and really it has nothing to do
with the fact that words were used. It’s like awarding
the best pie award to a cookie because it used sugar.
Also, the point isn’t the ingredients! It’s the result. And
what we get from music isn’t what we get from lit.
And they’re all arguing “well the cookie was too easy
to make” or “the cookie didn’t even taste good”
….but that’s not the point. The point is it’s a cookie.
Which some people were saying.
It just seems obvious now.
Regardless I am still weirdly glad he won?