Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Miles of Aisles

I'm lying on the couch listening to Joni Mitchell. I had meant to do more today, but the hours broke free from the treadmill of events and then drifted up into the diffuse light of the afternoon where they glow now and hang above me. I would open a bottle of wine but I am too lazy and comfortable here where I am. 

Miles of Aisles. There are Joni Mitchell albums I like more, but not by very much. I like her live albums in spite of their weaknesses. There are about ten albums she did between Ladies of the Canyon and Shadows and Light that are as good as anything done by anybody. They don't rely on any of the usual rock cliches that might otherwise help get you through the experience of listening to them. They are challenging and should be. The rewards are unique, inimitable, and untouchable. 

She's an unusually free singer and player. Her songs are brilliant. Her pleasure knows no limits, her voice is like a meadowlark, but her heart is like an ocean, mysterious and dark - to pervert and steal a line or two from Dylan. When listening, it's like being granted access to the these very private thoughts of hers. All unfamiliar at first, almost purely feminine. Like emotion feels, the lilting and lifting, the unexpected excitement of it free falling around you, never knowing when the bottom will appear, only that it will. There seems to be an incredible secret, only made known because it is broken, perhaps at the moment that it was. 

Listening to her album Blue is like watching a woman come out from behind a dressing screen to try on outfits; an open summer morning. Sun coming through the room, somehow filling the windows with the tenderness of privacy. Of course there is the incredible sadness mixed in with all the free-spiritedness. It's a good album when you're feeling like maybe everybody you've ever loved is a bit of bruised fruit. She's beautiful. Listen. It's incredible, such a complimentary set of talents. 

That completes my gushing Joni-crush portion of the post. I first heard her in the 80s and her music and singing confused me. It was nuanced in a way that I wasn't accustomed. It bothered me. I could hear there was something really great going on inside of it but that I didn't know enough to understand it on my own. I assumed age would help and I guess it has. I don't think I would have appreciated Prince nearly as much without her as a sort of comparative reference point to some of what he was doing, the way he was writing songs, precariously balancing the abstractions of life with details from the deeply personal. 

I dislike similar things about both artists, also. 


I had taken a break from wine and beer in the hopes of losing weight but it didn't work. I weigh as much now as I did coming straight out of the holidays, with a chocolate smudge still smeared across my candy-caned lips. Rum balls, etc. 

I might have to eat some humble pie and see if the liquor store will let me back in after all the horrible things I said. I blamed them for everything, called the cops, gave names and details, anecdotes, recited poems to customers, reported suspicious behavior, acted anonymously, left early am messages on voice mail, some of them just blank silence... all of it. There were invectives hurled; a near complete breakdown in decorum.  

I shouldn't joke. It is a perverse part of my nature, of anyone's. Joking has something to do with comedy. Pretty sure Jung said that.