Yesterday was a unique event which the library hosts every May — Dylan Day.
If you aren’t familiar with it or aren’t from our campus, Dylan Day is a celebration of community and music, where teachers and students play and share Bob Dylan music for an entire day. It is the brainchild of one of our English teachers, Bill Martin. The library hosts it, moves out most of our furniture, and closes for “normal activities” during the day, which is quite an undertaking.
Why do we do it? Bill asked several of us to write reflections to share with students about what it means to us. I wrote both about Dylan Day and about my grandmother, who has been very ill recently. I thought about her sense of fun and play and how she liked to be part of a community.
I reflected that I very happily open up the library for this because this day is about the kind of play that builds community for our school –it’s not about perfection, competition, achievement tests, or even really about performances. It’s about sharing something together. It’s a day that builds community for our campus in a very unique way.
When I look out every year over a sea of high school students sitting on the library floor, singing “Blowin in the Wind,” I am always amazed at how much warmth and openness Dylan Day brings to our school. To see students (and teachers) work up the courage to sing in front of everyone, to see their friends singing along, and to see the cooperation involved is a powerful experience.
My grandmother died yesterday just minutes after Dylan Day ended. She was 105. Though sometimes in the last few days she “pretended we never have met” as the Dylan song goes, I’ll celebrate and remember her sense of humor and love of family and community, and the fact that somehow she got to share Dylan Day with all of us.
Thanks, Bill, for bringing us all together once again.
2 thoughts on “Inviting students in”
I identified with your comments about how Dylan Day provides an opportunity for students to “play” in this community. That is, it brings us together, eclectic a group as we are, to enjoy profound music, to relax, and to reflect.
It is so fascinating and fulfilling to me that students amidst a whirlwind of studying for Advanced Placement tests and final exams can put away our notes and relax into the Dylan Day experience just for the fun of it. It’s nice to know that our two impulses (to perform well academically, and to seize enjoyment in life) can be reconciled in our world.
And perhaps this catharsis is similar to your experience on Friday – the realization and subsequent acceptance that we must embrace the creative, the time-honored, and the good in our lives. When we ask ourselves why we’re here, really, perhaps the best answer strays from “strict perfection” and tends more toward “… to create artistic and emotional beauty… to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new… to empathize with others… and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.” (Pink, A Whole New Mind.)
Thanks for commenting so eloquently. I love it when students post and share their reflections, and I agree that perhaps Dylan Day is about the search for purpose and meaning beyond “perfection.” Perhaps that makes it perfect, after all.