For a man who has inhabited so many personas in the public eye, Bob Dylan admits there are many he’d still like to try on. Finally responding — on his own damn time, thank you very much — to the announcement that he’s been given the Nobel Prize for Literature, Dylan took a gee whiz approach to the news. “Hard to believe,” said the enigmatic, prolific and influential musician and lyricist. “Whoever dreams about something like that?” Well Robert Zimmerman of Minnesota may have dreamed about it — after all, he dreamed up Bob Dylan and a life well-beyond most people’s imaginings. But Dylan never reveals his dreams — until now.
The Nobel Prize, the songwriting, the increased interest in Dylan’s paintings and sculpture are all great. But Dylan told writer Edna Gunderson with the Telegraph: “I’d like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track. I’d like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. I’d like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place.” The idea of Dylan knowing his place is going to be a hard one for fans to figure out, but it’s true he hasn’t done — and probably never will do — any of the things he lists above. Lots of people may want to be Bob Dylan, as the Counting Crows sang, but sometimes Dylan wants to be David Ortiz.
[For an idea of how difficult it has been for anyone to pigeonhole just who Bob Dylan is, try checking out Todd Haynes’ strange film I’m Not There.]