Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bob Dylan and Fyodor

Bob Dylan was awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias arts award, one of the country's most prestigious honors, yesterday.

"He's considered one of the most important figures of song, a form in which he combines, in a majestic way, the beauty of his poetry and ethical commitment," said the prize foundation in a statement.

The Sopranos finale featured a scene where AJ and his new girlfriend listen to Bob Dylan's "It's Alright Ma" and are amazed by how relevant the song is today, even though it was written more than forty years ago. Then they start making out and the SUV they are in catches on fire.

My book group meeting was last week. I was supposed to have purchased a copy of "Crime and Punishment." I rebelled at the bookstore and got a lot of short story collections instead. But one of them is "The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky" (Including Notes From the Underground.) Fyodor writes a great short story. I vaguely knew about his imprisonment in Siberia. I never knew he was once led in front of a firing squad, thinking that this was the end. I never knew he translated Balzac's wonderful short story "Eugenie Grandet" into Russian. I never knew he had an uncanny gift for getting into debt, or had become famous at such a young age. People have lives that are crammed with interesting facts, stories, adventures-- not just famous people, but everybody. We may not get a crapload of major awards or survive something like years of hard labor in Siberia, but our lives are still filled with truly amazing experiences.

I have a feeling that this will be my summer of reading Fyodor.

"It was a lovely night, one of those nights, dear reader, which can only happen when you are young. The sky was so bright and starry that when you looked at it the first question that came into your mind was whether it was really possible that all sorts of bad-tempered and unstable people could live under such a glorious sky." --Fyodor Dostoevsky