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Joni Mitchell intervjuet av Rita Westvik Print-ready version

NRK TV
May 1988

My Secret Place and Joni Mitchell. You withdrew a period, and I read in a magazine about a story, but there was sort of a turning point during this period where you jumped into a green-ish black water. Do you remember that episode?

I had a... yeah, I was not happy with mass public attention, and I withdrew. And I built a stone cottage up in an area that looks very like Norway on the northern coast of British Columbia. Fiords, mountains to the sea, and there I planned to spend the rest of my life as a hermit, you know? The land was interesting. Every day was a different mood. There were a lot of wildlife to look at. And I lived alone. I had some friends who would come to visit from time to time, but basically I didn't cotten to strangers. I didn't have a shotgun, you know? I hadn't turned into Manny Yokum or anything. But one day... but my soul was recovering, sort of, repairing itself, and one day I dove off the rocks into the water, and I came up and it was like a black mirror, and all the trees were reflected in it, and as I burst the surface, I broke into laughter. I was so happy, and I'd seen mink and animals sliding mudbanks and playing with their own joy for several months, and I think at that point I realized that I had regained whatever it was that I had been taken out of me by the business. You know, that I was completely intact.

It made an impression on me. You were telling that your first dream was about Indians, and here on this cover you lie sleeping somewhat like an Indian. And for a period, you also a sort of black inside you. Is that an expression of being connected with all people?

I have strong identity with primitive people. It's not hard for me to imagine, I feel my empathy to the primitive is very strong. Yeah, I have identified strongly with the black culture and with Indians.

My last question was about the Indian wheel. So now I'll just let you speak, what is it?

The wheel. Much of North American Indian culture was at one time based on this idea of the four major directions and the four minor directions. Let's see. I'll start with the Indian belief, and we'll get back to the oriental adaption. North is intellect; South is feelings, emotion; East is clarity, the overview; West is sensation, introspection. They all have different qualities. Now, in order to speak a whole truth, you must have experience living in all of the directions. In other words, if intellect speaks, it can be heard by other intellects. It usually cannot communicate at all to its opposite, so if intellect speaks to an emotional primary or it speaks to self, you pretty much come to an impasse. Intellect thinks "oh, they're irrational, they're emotional". South says, "They're stony cold, and they think they're smart". If you think of being in your center, being in your center you are mindless, really. You know, you're empty and waiting for action, but in order to go into activity, you have to move off of your center in order to engage in relationship. So, I would think if you were a master of this wheel - and I'm a novice at it. It's just an idea that...

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