Joni Mitchell ‘Still Struggling’ to Walk
Joni Mitchell said she was “still struggling” to walk, five years after she suffered a brain aneurysm, and compared the fight with her battle against polio when she was nine years old.
In an interview with Cameron Crowe for The Guardian, Mitchell revealed she hasn't written music for some time, because she was focusing on continuing the “slow improvement” of her health. “I haven’t been playing my guitar or the piano or anything,” Mitchell noted. “You know what? I came back from polio, so here I am again, and struggling back.”
She said of her 2015 illness: “Once again, I couldn’t walk. I had to learn how again. I couldn’t talk. Polio didn’t grab me like that, but the aneurysm took away a lot more, really. Took away my speech and my ability to walk. And, you know, I got my speech back quickly, but the walking I’m still struggling with. But, I mean, I’m a fighter. I’ve got Irish blood! So, you know, I knew, ‘Here I go again, another battle.’”
Mitchell will release Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967) on Oct. 30. She said the box set gave her an opportunity to change her thinking on her life’s work. “When I went to a Van Gogh exhibition, they had all his paintings arranged chronologically, and you’d watch the growth as you walk along,” she said. “Musically, I grow, and I grow as a lyricist, so there’s a lot of growth taking place. The early stuff – I shouldn’t be such a snob against it. A lot of these songs, I just lost them. They fell away. They only exist in these recordings.”
She added that "for so long, I rebelled. … ‘I was never a folk singer.’ I would get pissed off if they put that label on me. I didn’t think it was a good description of what I was. And then I listened, and it was beautiful. It made me forgive my beginnings. And I had this realization … I was a folk singer!”