I never really listened to Joni Mitchell when I was a child. I ignorantly associated her work with that of activist-musicians, and while I have a respect for that form as political speech I personally do not appreciate it as art. It was only after I met the man who later became my husband that I spent any time with her music; once I listened, I found her tunes compelling and honest, in a transformative way. I felt like I was seeing her life unfold before me, listening as she whispered her secrets in my ear.
In my typical manner, I obsessively listened to her music for months, over and over. I do this – set the stereo on repeat and listen until I am filled up. Then one day, suddenly I was done. No disdain, no haunting sense of regret for the indulgence; merely, time to move on to other passions. Back again to the inconguent pairing of my Jane Austen novels and Beethoven’s 7th.
Recently I became bored with the contents of my iPod and shuffled through the large cabinet in which our CD collection is stored. When I encountered my Joni collection, I pulled the bunch, uploaded and converted them to MP3’s to download to the iPod. That same sense of serenity greeted me once played – even in the inferior MP3 format, her music resonates with authenticity. Could it be the unusual tuning of her guitar, the sensitive bassline, or the poetry of her confession pouring out effortlessly like a pretty little waterfall hidden deep in a grand forest?