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dog eat dog

I was sad to see this interview with Joni Mitchell. She was one of my first heroes, and she's never slipped from the hero-list. I decided in 1985 that I wanted to see her in concert, I didn't see her until the Troubadors of Folk festival in (I think) 1991 at U.C.L.A., my alma mater, and neither before nor since did she slip from my "people I wish I could see at McCabe's" list.

There was a time when I earned pretty much all I ate from music, and I have to admit that the dynamic Joni Mitchell talks about is responsible for my not choosing to make music my career. I love literature and majored in English lit as an undergrad, but when deciding on what I wanted to do for a graduate degree, I decided that I'd rather reserve literature as something I do solely because I love it. Before that, there was a time when I decided whether I'd rather get a graduate degree or be an artist -- a wordsmith, a tunesmith, or some combination of the two -- and I decided to reserve poetry and fiction and song to the field of what I do only because I love it, and never because I need to earn something for it.

I'm glad there are people out there like Emily Saliers, who seem to have found a way to live in doing what she loves. I like to think that I'm like her, except that I love more than one thing. Joni Mitchell became a musician despite that the corporate environment in which musicians make a living is hostile to a musician's art. Sometimes I feel like I chickened out.

And then I remember just what I've taken on in being a professional church minister. I occasionally imagine myself standing out on the median of a highway with a sandwich-board sign saying, "WILL PREACH FOR FOOD." I know it's silly, but sometimes I wish I could do that like I did when I was a street musician, just standing in a public place knowing that if people heard something that fed their souls, I'd find what I needed to feed the rest of me.

Except that I pretty much am doing that. I think at this point I'm pretty much the preaching equivalent of an Internet busker, a streetcorner gal offering what's on her mind and at her fingertips.

I wonder what kind of future and livelihood there is in Internet proclamation. I guess I'm finding out!

May 25, 2005 in Music | Permalink

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