I just read the short story ‘Where are you going? Where have you been?’ by Joyce Carol Oates, which is dedicated to Bob Dylan. Joyce Carol Oates, a hugely prolific author writes about the souring of the American dream. She wrote an article on Bob, many years later, which was published in Studio A: A Bob Dylan Reader. Obviously Joyce Carol Oates heard something in Dylan which corresponded to her own view of life. Interestingly the story was published in 1966, when Dylan was in the height of his electric period. It’s a chilling story, here’s what she has to say about it.
“My most anthologized short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, written around the time of “Baby Blue’,”is dedicated to Bob Dylan. A one-sided admiration, clearly! The story was in fact suggested by a real-life incident involving a young teenaged girl and a “charismatic” serial killer in Tuscon, Arizona, and not by Dylan’s song. Yet the haunting melody of “Baby Blue” seemed to beautifully approximate the atmosphere of my story, as of that time. Eventually, I would regret the dedication: too many people have asked me, “Why?” Who knows why?”