He exists. Bob Dylan walks this world enshrouded in myth. He is the myth maker, the song and dance man. He is on the TV singing a Frank Sinatra song and doing it very badly. Yet, it digs into your soul. It digs into my soul, until you say, “Wow, genius.” I still hate the album but that is no longer the point. Bob is fucking with us, like Johanna fucked with him in the ultimate Greek tragedy (Or was it a comedy?) “Visions of Johanna.” After all, like the ethereal goddess, bits and pieces of an illusion are all that remain when the lights go down. No, it was real. Bob Dylan was here. A mercurial headache, lustily dreamt up by the Robert Zimmerman, song and dance man. The Fictional History of Bob Dylan, in four/four time. It is a myth in the making.
This is a story. My story about the story that is Bob Dylan. Like Hank Williams before him, Bob emerged from the swirling mists of clutter and spit language into the bucket of my mind. He unburdened realms of consciousness and rewrote the ground rules one Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure if it was before or after he went masquerading in his Bob Dylan mask. The wry scoundrel. He can separate any woman from her panties when he slips on his Bob Dylan mask. Of course, he knows that is why I write this article, to impress a girl. She is my Johanna.
Everyone has a Johanna. That is what Bob Dylan, or is it Robert Zimmerman, is trying to tell us. Are you listening? Art is only relevant as long as it remains active, a tool for the next person. Bob and others gives us the eyes with which we see, so we can aspire, to refill the beauty of illusion. That is all it is. An illusion. A passing breath of a dream. The oasis with which happiness is launched from. Bob is “The Wicked Messenger,” a wandering boy nipping at the heels of Woody Guthrie. He, too, trying to impress a girl, his Johanna.
The Fictional History of Bob Dylan has come full circle. Tales of love, loss and betrayal spill out onto the carpet and humble us by their sheer poetry. Lines from a song make us dream, sooner or later one of us must know. The traveling troubadour named Bob Dylan has spun his tales and brought forth a glimmer of hope. Now, he disappears back into the recesses of illusion and becomes Robert Zimmerman.