Other than the self-hating misanthropy of “Big Yellow Taxi” (“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Yes, and over the last 150 years, “they” also put up electric lights, air conditioning, the polio vaccine, and err, the musical instruments, concert halls, record players, radio and TV networks, and the commercial aviation that made your career possible), I’ve enjoyed a number of Joni Mitchell’s songs, and her adventurous musical spirit. But this article in today’s London Daily Mail paints a picture of a very tormented 70-year old soul:
Reflecting on her childhood, Mitchell reveals she was terribly affected by Bambi, particularly the scene where the deer’s mother was trapped in the fire. It was an unlikely spark for her artistry. The traumatic scene made her obsessively draw pictures of fire and deer running, in an attempt to exorcise it from her mind.
‘I think maybe that’s the beginning of my contempt for my species and what it does. How ignorant it is of sharing this planet with other creatures. Its lack of native intelligence, common sense, or spirituality addressed to the earth…’, she told the author.
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While living luxuriously between two homes, she’s adamantly negative on America and the industry that made her so successful.
‘America is like really into Velveeta (the processed cheese). Everything has to be homogenized. Their music should be homogenized, their beer is watered down, their beauties are all the same. The music is the same track’.
But it’s in America that her music is playing in department stores and in elevators. Joni Mitchell has become the soundtrack to millions of lives, and the royalties from those songs have made her very wealthy.
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But it’s not a recurrence of polio.
‘Morgellons is constantly morphing. There are times when it’s directly attacking the nervous system, as if you’re being bitten by fleas and lice. It’s all in the tissue and it’s not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I’ve been sick all my life’.
Mitchell broke off friendships feeling she was wasting her time with some people she calls ‘deadwood’.
She lost her drive and doesn’t follow projects through to conclusion. She’s forgetful and can’t remember what she just said, Marom writes.
If she’s out walking and has a thought she wants to remember but no notebook, she won’t remember when she gets home.
‘There’s a lot of lethargy with my illness. I’m fatigued’, she laments. And the medicines she was taking gave her brain fog, adding: ‘My creative energy went into survival and into furnishing the interior of the house [in British Columbia]‘.
If you hate mankind so much that admit “contempt for my species and what it does,” then you must on some level hate yourself, your own existence, as well. Honest question: how much stress does that put on a body and impact a person’s health?