Wednesday, October 4, 2017

for the love of Joni | then & now

Reading a tender homage to Joni Mitchell in the New Yorker magazine due this October 7. Capturing the images and drama perfectly - of life then and the trajectories that lead it here.

I had just moved to the big city, enrolled at the state university - martial law was so new and not as impactful as living on my own for the first time. 

It was a year of many firsts for me. 

I lost my innocence and broke my heart - clueless and reckless of any danger as I explored and expressed my budding independence. A sheltered life in some provincial backwater - no matter how big its pretensions - was no preparation for life in the 70's - trippy on drugs, free love, battles of the bands - ruled by a power crazy dictator and his deranged wife.

Stepping into art surrounded by national artists and scholared fellows was exhilarating, intimidating, and distracting. This life demanded discovery - mostly at dramatic decibels and at a jarring careening carnival raucousness.

I wore jeans daily - the recognized uniform of this new revolutionary life where much of the learning was outside the cloistered classrooms and uniform existence I was raised on and grew up in. Swimming in more diversity than I ever realized existed - it was the start of a strange new life.

I miss those days back when I was unafraid - with no armor and no weapons yet. Fresh and pristine. 

As the scales sloughed off I was left raw and vulnerable in between devising new ways and growing into my own skin. Wandering and floundering. 

It was the art on her early albums that drew me to first appreciate Joni Mitchell's music and lyrics. But I was easily mesmerized when I heard her. 

Here was someone giving voice to all my shape shifting dreams and half formed fantasies in soaring octaves of self realization.

Joni eased me past the grief of my lost childhood illusions to nurture a confidence and trust in myself. So much that when I was pregnant years later with Mahala I returned to that same fervent listening to stitch together my wounded heart and heal a depleted spirit. 

In utero Mahala swam in undulating waves of dreamy fluctuating moods of increasingly guileless innocence. Calming maternal fears and strengthening a sense of self.

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