Making tracks.


Sometimes I think maybe I've met too many good people.

I've always been a somewhat hesitant misanthrope. On paper, the human race is just a big fucking mess, isn't it? One gigantic, untrustworthy fleshy mass of psychosis with a behavioral ineptitude that would rival any rabid pack of hyenas. To quote one of my favorite Mr. Show skits, "What a collection of assholes."

A small part of me has always relished the though of disappearing. Just cashing in my chips and going off to some beach or some island somewhere. I think about the dust-bowlers or guys like Woody Guthrie, hopping trains whenever things got too familiar. Or I'll wonder what it was like for the first settlers in this country to fill a wagon with everything they could fit and wander out into a wilderness like we'll never be able to comprehend.

Sometimes I wonder if I could pull off something like that, but then I remember all those goddamned good people who I've befriended over the years and know I could never do it. That's right, my friends and family are standing in the way of my perfect hobo's life.

After a lot of stressful inner debate, I've made the decision to leave Chicago at the end of next month. The details aren't all that important... I'm just looking to start a career in nursing (see what I mean about the hesitant misanthrope?) and this town isn't the cheapest place to get it done. I've only been here for about two and a half years, but I've fallen in love with this city and it's going to be hard to leave. I still haven't gotten over leaving the East Coast, my family and friends behind, and now I get to do it all over again.

I'm posting only one song tonight, and it's one that is always at the top of my mind when it comes time to say goodbye to the people I love:

"I Was Young When I Left Home" by BOB DYLAN

Back when I lived in Philadelphia and Delaware, I played a show every few months at the coffeeshop where I worked. If it hadn't been for the constant pushing of my friend James out there, I probably never would have bothered breaking out my guitar. (I certainly haven't done it here in Chicago. Overstimulation's a bitch.) Anyway, I played this song once or twice, but I remember playing it for my last show in town before I moved. As I practiced for the week or two before the show, the lyrics got me to the point where I couldn't play it without crying.

"It was just the other day,
I was bringing home my pay
when I met an old friend I used to know.
Said your mother's dead and gone,
baby sister's all gone wrong
and your daddy needs you home right away.

Not a shirt on my back,
not a penny on my name.
But I can't go home thisaway.
Thisaway, lord lord lord.
And I can't go home thisaway."

Bob recorded that in a hotel room on December 22, 1962, and the above two verses do a better job of explaining my dilemma more than my preceeding six paragraphs. I want to live everywhere and see everything, and there's a price to pay for that in the form of that enormous lack I will have in my heart when I think about my nephews, my parents... and dammit, James. I miss bowling with my brother. I'll miss sitting in my apartment with my roommates and listening to all of this music that means so much to us.

I wish I could stay. There's just too many good people out there.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that track. It makes me miss home in the states. I did take off and "walked the earth like Kane in Kung Fu" for a year, and I didnt go home. I ended up in Europe. Its tough away from family and friends...not to sound selfish, but the most important thing is to be happy where you are...if youre not happy with your life or situation...do something about it; move if you have to.
Happy Travels -

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a good while now and this was a great entry. Beautiful post, man. I'm going through the same sentiments living in Boston, but with my family in the Southeast and my own nagging wanderlust pulling me in a different direction. Don't really have any advice for you since I don't have answers for myself, but know that you're not alone. Best of luck to you on your move...


John said...

keep on goring, mang.

James said...

I'm touched that I made such an impact. Now get your ass back to Philly. I'm bored and I want to play Grand Theft Auto.
Editorial note: There are far grander and more worthwhile reasons for Dylan to return Caesar-like to the East, but it's currently 2 a.m. and amusement and video games are currently more poignant.

Anonymous said...

I think life is about forward momentum; packing up and moving can be one of the most liberating experiences. Granted, you're moving back to a place you've been, but still, embrace this. Our roots and hat racks are more than a place on the map. You're one of the few lucky people who has managed to connect with others in a meaningful way in every place you have lived- not many people are fortunate enough to wander this world, holding multiple "homes" in their hearts.

Dylan Gaughan said...

damn, thanks Anonymous. All three of you.

John Spencer said...

"Restring all your guitars, pack up all your stuff..."
–Old 97's

" Looking forward to seeing you"
–Golden Smog

Anonymous said...

Good job man, I hope you keep leaving your mark.


alex said...

Anything worth doing is worth more on the fly. Either that or anything not exactly worth much seems a lot better in motion (or drunk). And so on.

Nothing's more important than keeping instincts sharp. Everything's the better for it: relationships, mental health, appreciation for everything from the details to the grand scale. And all the other cliches about nomadship and hobodom.

countrygrrl said...

hey that post almost made ME cry..lots of great sentiments and of course one of dylans' best tracks. Life is indeed about moving forward and I wish you luck with life and your new career. I hope you will keep blogging along...i visit most days and have enjoyed being a passenger on your journey...