The music enriching my extended stay-at-home has included Minnesota native son Bob Dylan.
In addition to unpacking the wisdom of new pandemic-era songs “Murder Most Foul” and “I Contain Multitudes,” I’ve returned to his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home. It strikes the perfect tone for homebound times, and for those of us now commuting across the hall instead of across town. The record also documents him amid his own jarring transition—to electric guitar. “I accept chaos,” Dylan writes in the album’s liner notes. “I am not sure whether it accepts me.” Many of us have accepted the chaos of the present. We’re bracing for things to be different, but we can’t fully predict how they’ll look.
When production began for this issue of Minnesota Monthly, my 3-year-old daughter didn’t know how to say “COVID-19” yet, and the upcoming summer looked bright. First Avenue’s 50th anniversary and exciting developments at Mia; new restaurants from Ann Kim and Yia Vang; the Twins and Minnesota United fielding promising teams; the fair and festival bonanza; and all sorts of trips. Best of all, the warmer months here build anticipation for more spur-of-the-moment gatherings with family, friends, and coworkers.
Instead, the coming of summer has been a multitask Groundhog Day filled with Zoom meetings, takeout food, and social distancing. We know the walls of our homes, and those with whom we live, more intimately than ever, and we’re watching the national headlines around the clock. Big local names like 3M, Medtronic, and Mayo Clinic are making news for their roles in finding solutions to the current public health pandemic. Meanwhile, small businesses are feeling a sting that might never fade. It’s a time to tip generously for takeout food, order custom First Avenue Vans sneakers, and buy local distilleries’ batches of hand sanitizer—but also to tell the local institutions you love that you’re thinking of them. It could be a while yet before we’re singing, “It’s all over now, Baby Blue.”
As I write this from the couch, I know our magazine has a strong-willed, nimble team. We pivoted on a dime and found ways, like many publications, to rise to the occasion and produce something influenced by the chaos—without succumbing to it.