I wondered this morning how Joni Mitchell was doing.
I haven’t heard much lately.
Of course, I haven’t checked lately, either.
Kind of quiet out there…..the news about Joni.
Then I started thinking about her paintings…..and about how we’ll always see her as a songwriter….and about how, no matter how long or how well she paints, the songwriting is “the thing”….and the painting will be “something less” somehow.
But the painting is really good.
It deserves an audience, too.
It’s the songs that we know, though….the painting is kind of an aberration….something that she does instead of singing.
“a case of you” Joni Mitchell
It’s funny how creativity works….or how anything works, really.
You have to pick something…..pick somewhere to “land”….or people can’t wrap their heads around “what you do”.
You can’t be a jack of all trades in a creative world and be taken seriously.
No matter how deep your talent runs.
No matter how deep….and then we only have the time to understand any of it on a pretty superficial level.
I guess that you’d have to be crazy to be too much of a zealous appreciator, though.
Nobody digs too deep into anything….nobody except the mentally ill or the obsessed.
Nobody…..except maybe a creative person on a mission.
“I live in a box of paints”.
Here’s a thought: what if most of the songwriting was just describing something that she really was or longed to be…..a quiet painter…a lonely painter….and, because the music is what we came to know her for….know her as a songwriter and singer….that’s all we let her be?
I guess that nobody “lets someone be something”….maybe accepted her as being a songwriter is the better way to say that.
No matter what success level a person attains, there’s often a secret wish behind the curtain….”I wish I’d been a lion tamer” ….or some other secret longing floating in the background.
No matter how entrenched we become in a career or artistic choice….it’s just something that we chose to be.
It’s something that we “become” because it’s easy for people to wrap their heads around.
We need to be seen as “something”…..for some reason.
We need an easy answer to the strange question, “So…what do you do?”
I’m not a mailman.
I’ve got to be more than that.
Maybe we really live in a box of paints?
“a case of you” Joni Mitchell (from “Both Sides Now”)