The woman who defined "singer/songwriter" and routinely revealed her most intimate longings, passions, and failures in her stunningly original songs, has always been reluctant to reveal Joan Anderson, the troubled, lonely recluse behind the artist Joni Mitchell. Canadian writer Katherine Monk's new bio, Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell, lifts the veil on her fellow countrywoman. Her account of Mitchell's dramatic rise to fame and countless love affairs, which inspired her songs, makes for a riveting read.
And Chris Lackner (PN News) writes:
Joni. That one word conjures images of a flower child, folksinger and icon — an artist so familiar to us, she almost feels like family.
But a new biography shows that the Canadian musical treasure has long been misunderstood. Maybe it’s time to meet the real Joni Mitchell.
In Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell, Postmedia journalist Katherine Monk literally rewrites the book on a musical legend.
The biography explores the creative and intellectual drives behind Mitchell — outlining the thinkers and philosophies that shaped her life and informed her music. It also casts aside misconceptions about the artist.
For starters, Mitchell was never locked into her folk persona. It was largely crafted by David Crosby, who urged her to ditch the mascara, fake eyelashes and designer purse for a natural look.
“She’s not the hippie goddess that anyone might take her for,” Monk says. “She’s considered this winsome, bittersweet blond with this flawless soprano … (when) her true voice is that of an alto. She’s hugely fashion-conscious … she’s always been dressed to the nines and likes designer labels and likes fine stuff. She can swear like a trucker and she loves to dance. She loves to have a party and she loves to have a good time, and her music lends you to believe that she’s sort of this martyr for mope … Joni Mitchell is very complicated. She’s not soft; I’d say she’s a hard person.”
It really sounds like an interesting book. I looked at a bookstore today for it but they didn't have it. I should probably get a Kindle or some device. That would certainly be easier with all the time we spend on the road.
But I do love a book -- physical book. I love holding it, flipping through pages. I like breaking the binding. We had to do that in school. First day. Did anyone else? That was pretty much from 5th grade through senior year. We'd have to go through the book pressing pages flat with our hands. This was supposed to prolong the life of a book -- I have no idea if it did -- and keep it from falling apart.
I still do that with my own books.
And there's something so satisfying about finishing a book and closing it. Knowing you've read the whole thing.
And something so great about being able to carry it anywhere. I like to read in the tub. Do they make a waterproof Kindle? Or will I end up like Loretta Haggerty's son on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman? (The TV or radio feel in the tub while he was bathing.)
I don't know. But I do want to find this book. In hardcover format.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"