Both Sides Now


I recently watched a documentary called” Woman of Heart and Mind.”   It chronicles the song writing life of Joni Mitchell.   Some of you who stop by may already know this, but for those who don’t,  Joni Mitchell was a huge inspiration to me in my young life of 12 or 13.   It was her song “For Free” that I attribute my yearning to write songs .  Yes, believe it or not, even at that tender age I got that making music was not about fame or money although I have come to see how important that latter is to being able to create and share your  creations but….well, that is  fodder for another post.

I sat and I watched this documentary (all by myself which is a miracle in itself)and sang along to all the music  I sang to on those lovely summer afternoons when I had nothing else to do but listen to LP after LP.   I have to thank my brothers for that.   They  had   extensive collections and incredible taste.   I sang along and “put on a harmony”  familiar and comforting.   As they played music,  Joni spoke of her history and her muse.   She was saying things that I totally understood and I wanted to sit and chat with her for hours.   Here she was…..JONI MITCHELL….and she was saying things that I knew in my own heart and mind.   Dare I think that we are of the same cloth?   There were times of self deprecation that  I gave up song writing because I could never write like her.  It is only recently that I realized that I was never supposed to.   There she was telling me that very thing, giving me permission to write in my own style and not to be conformed to anyone’s   ideal of what a “good ” song consists of.

I was also struck by how much I had missed out on because I was so young.   My life experiences at that point,  left me with lots of questions.   I really didn’t understand so much of her poetry because I simply  lacked the maturity.   So what was it that made me cling to every song with such admiration?   It was the music itself.   Her harmonics and the wide open spaces she left for me to  sing along in harmony led me to places, musically, I had never been before.   Her lilting melodies went straight to my heart and rest there still.  The impact of that was profound but now I feel like I am rediscovering her and revisiting those places and finding rooms that I had completely missed.   It is a great feeling and it causes me to want to write and write and write……………..

If you are a Joni Mitchell fan,  I would love to hear from you.  Perhaps you can share your  favorite song or lyric.   We are a community of great depth and appreciation for all things lovely.


2 responses »

  1. It would be impossible to pick favorite lyrics. But I’ve also recently heard the lyrics with a different ear- a mother, a wife, a daughter of an aging mother…. As I approach 50 (slowly- sh!), I understand her differently than I did at 13. 18. 25. 30. 40. She speaks to us on so many levels, and the music is why we all could listen. A Woman of Heart and Mind, indeed.

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