David Remnick gets it right, as the editor of The New Yorker usually does: if you mean to celebrate today’s announcement that Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, do it by ear. Cue up “Abandoned Love,” listen to “Desolation Row,” with “Brownsville Girl” to follow that, then “Dignity,” then “Boots of Spanish Leather,” “Lay Down Your Weary Tune.” Keep going. And while you’re doing that, read this, from Dylan’s seductive memoir, Chronicles: Volume One (2004), in which he recalls his youth in Minnesota:
Winters, ten below with a twenty below wind-chill factor were common, thawing spring and hot, steamy summers — penetrating sun and balmy weather where temperatures rose over one hundred degrees. Summers were filled with mosquitoes that could bite through your boots — winters with blizzards that could freeze a man dead. There were glorious autumns as well.
Mostly what I did growing up was bide my time. I always knew there was a bigger world out there but the one I was in at the time was all right, too. With not much media to speak of it, it was basically life as you saw it. The things I did growing up were the things I thought everybody did — march in parades, have bike races, play ice hockey. (Not everyone was expected to play football or basketball or even baseball, but you had to know how to skate and play ice hockey.)