Monday, November 7, 2016

happiness is a decision

I decided I'm happy that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  At first I was kind of -- well, my feeling was, I already understand Bob Dylan's work, and am inspired by it, and transported by it -- do I (and other fans and appreciators) need the Nobel Committee to tell us that Bob Dylan's music and songwriting are great? - We knew this already.

And my ideas and opinions about "prizes" are kind of -- well -- maybe not "on-the-fence," but perhaps -- sort of -- near a fence. ... 

But it's recognition, and acknowledgement of inspiring artworks, and I decided, in this weird election season, Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize is something I'm allowed to Be Happy About.

In his 2004 book Chronicles, a memoir, Dylan wrote about getting his first apartment in NYC, and setting it up with a few pieces of furniture.  Reading that part, I thought, "I don't understand all this description of making things, but I wonder what a real mechanic, or carpenter, would think -- would they understand what he's talking about...?

----------------------------- [excerpt, Dylan - Chronicles] ------------------ Not having a place of my own now was beginning to affect my supersensitive nature, so after being in town close to a year, I rented a third floor walk-up apartment at 161 West 4th Street at sixty dollars a month.  It wasn't much, just two rooms above Bruno's spaghetti parlor, next door to the local record store and a furniture supply shop on the other side. 

The apartment had a tiny bedroom, more like a large closet, and a kitchenette, a living room with a fireplace and two windows that looked out over fire escapes and small courtyards. 

There was barely room enough for one person and the heat went off after dark and the place had to be heated by keeping both gas burners up full blast. 

It came empty. 

Quickly after moving in I built some furniture for the place.  With some borrowed tools, I made a couple of tables, one which doubled as a desk.  I also put together a cabinet and a bed frame.  All the wood pieces had come from the store downstairs, and I fastened everything together with the accompanying hardware -- galvanized nails, knockers and hinge plates, 3/8-inch square pieces of wrought iron, brass and copper, roundheaded wood screws. 

I didn't have to go far to get that stuff, it was all downstairs. 

I put it all together with hacksaws, cold chisels and screwdrivers -- even made a couple of mirrors using an old technique I learned in a high school shop woodworking class using plates of glass, mercury and tin foil.

Besides playing music, I liked doing those kinds of things.  I purchased a used TV, stuck it on top of one of the cabinets, bought a mattress and got a rug that I spread across the hardwood floor.  I got a record player at Woolworth's and put it on one of the tables.  The small room seemed immaculate to me and I felt that for the first time I had a place of my own.


No comments:

Post a Comment