I spent the whole of yesterday out of the studio. (My gorgeous, perfect-for-me, Julie-infused studio : the one that used to be our dining room : my favourite inside space ever in the whole wide world!)

When I woke up, I simply couldn’t face sitting at my desk, working on the computer. Nor could I fathom creating art.

Leaving the house was not an option.

Gathering up essential supplies (a mass of journals, a portable art kit, some fruit, Carl Jung’s The Red Book: A Reader’s Edition) I made myself a nest in the den. The plan was to experience some letting go.

Seek Soul

I pictured myself napping, perhaps a wee bit of cut and pasting, some dipping in and out of The Red Book and capturing notes in the relevant journal.

I didn’t do much of any of those, except perhaps the journaling part. Alongside the journaling, I found myself filling up rather than letting go.

It all started with an idea to watch a 1998 Joni Mitchell concert I’d recorded from Sky Arts. She is one of my creative heroes and I love her music. After going to a tribute concert a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to see the real thing. The idea of being snuggled down in this space, with Joni wafting over me seemed comforting, reassuring – and a wee bit inspirational.

And that’s where the filling up (not letting go) started to creep in.

Joni turned seventy years of age this year, and I wondered if she’d marked it with any new footage. Inspired by the concert, I was curious to catch up with her in the here and now. So I found this CBC in-depth interview with her on the You Tubes. It’s really long. Someone kindly posted it in three sessions to make it a wee bit easier to watch…

Joni Mitchell Interview Q Part One

Joni Mitchell Interview Q Part Two

Joni Mitchell Interview Q Part Three

Joni is uncompromising even as she turns seventy. She thinks of herself a painter first and foremost. She is a true artist who is not concerned about making us like her. She no longer sings, but still writes some. About her music,

“The trick is, if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and see yourself, it’ll probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself. And now, you’re getting something out of it, you know?”

Have you ever cried to Joni’s music? I wondered how often I had.

Her art is amazing – oh, how I wish I could begin to paint as well as she. She surrounds herself with her own art on the walls and hated the rigidity and conformity she experienced in art school.

She hates being pigeon-holed,

“I am fluid… Everything I am, I am not.”

I am so going to use that quote ALL the time!

Although I hadn’t planned it, my day with Joni was pretty awesome. It isn’t just blind admiration. She doesn’t make herself easy to like (I like her, though – I’d invite her to dinner.) She inspired me, absolutely. Inspired me to let go of any need I have to be liked. Inspired me to let go of my own narrow definitions and expectations. Inspired me to be more, through letting go.

Thank you, Joni for filling me up with your inspiration, helping me to let go … (and my eternal gratitude to you for singing your poetry to me for the last thirty years.)