the incomparable Joni Mitchell
The incredible Joni Mitchell was a surprise guest at the Newport Folk Festival. Already a legend in her own time — she wowed the unsuspecting crowd when she stepped onto the stage in her first public performance since suffering a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015.
It’s been 53 years since she was last at the festival and “The last time Joni performed with guitar in hand in front of a paying audience was 8,660 days ago, on her 55th birthday,” according to Mitchell’s website.
I have been a Joni Mitchell fan for over forty years. Like countless teens of the 70s Joni’s songs eased me past the grief of my lost childhood illusions and nurtured a confidence and trust in myself.
When I was pregnant in 1979 with Mahala — my one and only — I returned to fervently listening to my beloved Joni. Stitching together my expanding heart and healing my disillusioned soul.
I had just picked up Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe — an intimately detailed biography that tracks the life and work of this most influential female recording artist and consummate composer of our time.
The biography is a captivating revelation of the self-taught artist whose brilliance mesmerized her audience and influenced generations of singers and songwriters with her timeless compositions that have endured and inspired us for decades.
Joni shines her light where it is needed most. In this dark time, she is a bright beacon of true hope. As Yaffe writes, “High and low, from the inspired to the broken, and everyone in between, Joni lights it all up.”
By her own experience and example, she has lived her life out in the open — sharing most intimately her wins and loses — for all of us to watch and learn.
We are witness to our parents’ generation — how they deal with aging and trauma as children of the great wars — their will and grit to overcome. We are lucky beyond our dreams to have Joni here — offering a richer deeper perspective on life.
In our midst she confidently shows us how we too can age in grace and dignity — through glory and gloom.
What a gift she is indeed.
Originally published at http://changewarrior.blogspot.com.