Digging up Bob Dylan’s Minnesota roots exposes an icy truth
Travel: On the Road in Minnesota
If you want to understand the story of a man named Zimmerman, visiting the northern town of Hibbing, Minnesota offers stone cold insights into the emotional desolation and snowy emptiness that shaped the Nobelaureate's inner space and artistic obsessions.
By Rod Mickleburgh
On a bleak, wintry weekend in November of 2014, my brother and I made a pilgrimage to “the north country fair, where the winds hit heavy on the borderline” in search of the roots of Bob Dylan. It was an unforgettable trip that richly increased my understanding of the mysterious forces that shaped a relatively ordinary teenager in the Minnesota town of Hibbing and helped turn him into the Shakespeare of our age.
We set out Friday morning from my brother’s home in Thunder Bay. Once across that “borderline,” we travelled south along Highway 61 (Revisited). There was no sign of a promoter putting some bleachers out in the sun. We were soon in Duluth, where Dylan was ...
First Place Finnish
Travel: Celebrating Finland's 100th anniversary
Rod Mickleburgh returns to the land of his ancestors to discover an almost genetic propensity to fight for social justice and a rather bizarre predilection for odd sports
By Rod Mickleburgh
You may have missed it, but the land of my ancestors recently celebrated it’s centennial. On Dec. 6, 1917, small but mighty Finland officially severed itself from Russia, becoming an independent country for the first time. Russia’s new Bolshevik rulers did not protest. I remember leafing through one of my great aunt’s photo albums and seeing a grainy picture of the raising of the Finnish flag in their small community for the first time. A bit more than two and a half years after independence, my mother was born in the fishing/farming village of Sideby. When I first visited “the relatives” in the winter of 1971, I was given the very room where her birth took place. Under the mountain of blankets my two great aunts supplied, I remember ...