TLS signed “Bob,” one page, 8.5 x 11, postmarked November 13, 1964, with the original 'The Second City' mailing envelope addressed in Dylan's own hand, who adds “Bearsville, Box 125” to the reverse. Letter to blues musician Dave Glover, typed by Dylan in a lyrical stream-of-consciousness style rant, in full (grammar and spelling retained): "received letter bearsville post market / walk up road read you write better now-should be snow here soon .me i ramble concert high ho cold face always an always return t here-everythings fine / am writing green songs an tieing play words togeter…i am outside an somewhat free / long for nothing. john lennon groovy also ringo. holy household here something out of ficticious gandi novel / fire very warm we are out in woods. nobody seems t think they have any enemys neither / me victor too, david-i dont think you've met david we play pool in kingston / lots of strange towns round here very ancient / old stone buildings-rip van winkle icabod crane demon horseback people / abandoned hotels within twenty mountain mile radius like out of last year at marianbad / greta garbo hangouts Grand hotel you know what i mean? boarding house air. vagabondcanadian hitchhike boy wonder poetsperhaps can imagine many different sorts living hiden away winding up an down nameless mountains all very devely…mystic country no smell of any city anyway i bum around up here.live here not but alway come back t groovy silent house. i write by candlelight. hardly never during day / bob dylan he plays makes bread facing kind fond people menace in their bathtubs / they call him names an pay outrageously just t see what he looks like…bob dylan he laughs / it is all a joke see me in the sky. the sky is on fire. gotta listen hard t here the giggles. once done tho it is thee only way / dig marvin gaye. gas station dudes. deonne warwick. drive in movies. cold cream ads. dig eye patched forest ranger wear short pants he talks too? see texas bronc buster break mexican vergin. worse then that i pet semantha the cat wonder how come i used t dig woody guthrie so much oh my gawd / met manfred mann in england / have you heard a song they sing called sha la la? it is fucking beautiful. hope dave ray becomes that doctor. will have some connection at leat least in wooly yonder midwest / you got telephone? yes youre right about hipsty people…stay away from all those who talk about burning down the suberbs / they will burn you next…most of them can be detected by when they try t give little boys hot foots / also they casually drop into square hangouts an tilt pin ball machines / they court pill head colored girls quite regularly. glad t see youre taking your time now / gotta go…noose is waiting joan baez is hot an bothered. type writer turns her on. door bells ringing must be the prospectors / anyhow be brave an watch for the tambourine man / write you later." Prior to signing his name in bold black felt tip, Dylan adds an amusing flourish of typewriter symbols and numbers before adding “an kisses.” In fine condition.
The country retreat of manager Albert Grossman in Bearsville, New York, offered respite for Dylan during his most prolific period. After a grueling trip to and from Hawaii on August 1st, Dylan spent the next month in Bearsville house-sitting with Joan Baez and entertaining guests like Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky. Dylan’s writing habits at that time, according to Baez: ‘Most of the month or so we were there, Bob stood at the typewriter in the corner of his room, drinking red wine and smoking and tapping away relentlessly for hours. And in the dead of night, he would wake up, grunt, grab a cigarette, and stumble over to the typewriter again.’
At month’s end Dylan left for Manhattan and met the Beatles for the first time at the Delmonico Hotel on August 28th—“john lennon groovy also ringo”—and where, to his amazement, he introduced the Liverpool quartet to marijuana, with Lennon hazily recalling the experience: 'I don't remember much what we talked about. We were smoking dope, drinking wine and generally being rock 'n' rollers and having a laugh, you know, and surrealism. It was party time.'
With superb subject matter and numerous associations, including mentions of Dionne Warwick, Marvin Gaye, and musical idol Woody Guthrie, the letter most glaringly represents the evolution and creative explosion of Dylan the writer. The letter’s dogged pace and free-flowing lyrical style seems to mirror the very manner in which he was aggressively approaching the song-writing process, with the mashing of typewriter keys all but audible as one reads the page. A marvelously dense letter from Dylan that is as much song as correspondence—a flood of thought from one of music’s most influential and talented wordsmiths.
From the Tony Glover Collection.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.