Posted June 08, 1998
I want to say once again how much joy I felt traveling along with Joni's tour over the last few weeks and what a pleasure it was to meet folks from the JM Internet Community. In addition, your e-mails about how much you appreciated my tour reports and about how thrilled you were that I'd finally met Joni meant a great deal to me. I fulfilled one of my own dreams but also felt like I was a stand-in for the dreams of many others.
My message today is rather like True Confessions -- I've been keeping a big secret from most of you out there in the JM Internet Community. I feel that it's time for a round of personal revelations about myself and my history.
I was diagnosed with colon cancer in March of 1995. During the ten days between my diagnosis and surgery to remove a large tumor, I took stock of my life and promised God (or my personal equivalent of that energy) that if I survived the operation, I'd commit myself to a project that was creative, beautiful and unselfish. I had no idea then what it would be, but decided to make myself available for the mission.
While convalescing from my surgery, my best friend Jim set me up with a high speed modem. As new arrivals to the Internet often do, I surfed through Web search engines trying to locate information on my favorite subjects. When I typed in Joni Mitchell's name, I was shocked to find there was nothing of any quality or quantity about her on the web. I found a picture or a mention of her on other musician's sites, but no site dedicated exclusively to her and her career. With that, I set about learning HTML and the Joni Mitchell Homepage was born.
I've accomplished many goals with this project, foremost of which is providing a place for Joni-philes to group together, learn about and celebrate their love of all things JM. I've also enjoyed conversations with fascinating people who have worked with Joni, Brian Blade and David Crosby among them. In addition, there have been magical events connected to the JMHP that went way beyond what I could ever have expected, particularly the reunion between Joni and her daughter, Kilauren.
Today I face another crisis in the fight with my disease. I must have another operation to remove a recurrence of the tumor that threatened my life three years ago. I found out about the need for more surgery before Joni's tour with Bob and Van began, but I talked my doctors into delaying the operation until the tour ended so I could travel along with it. They prescribed anti-spasmodics and pain killers to help me through my bad episodes (of which I had more than a few). I think I successfully hid my pain from almost everyone I met; the friends who traveled with me put up a protective barrier around me when I needed it. My surgery is scheduled for sometime within the next two weeks, with 6-8 weeks of recovery time and perhaps 6 months of chemotherapy following that.
Why am I announcing my condition to the Internet community? My reasons are twofold: First, I think it's important for people to know how much can be accomplished when a person is forced to face his or her own mortality. Creating the JMHP under these circumstances allowed me to muster energies I might not have otherwise become aware of. Second, the positive energy that I get from you folks is essential to my well being because I don't seem to be able to generate it as easily myself this time around. In my darkest moments, I wonder if my pact with God is now fulfilled and that it's time for me to move on. At other times, I know there's much more for me to accomplish: for example, I'm really looking forward to designing a new JMHP section where you'll be able to order t-shirts and lithographs from Joni's tour.
There have been unexpected benefits, too. While editing text for the website, I've discovered many new situations where a semicolon works perfectly well.
Needless to say, this will not be an easy time for me. I'll maintain Joni's website as well as I can, but once I have my surgery I'll be pretty much out of commission for a few weeks until I start to feel better. My buddy Jim will keep you up to date on my recovery. Please stay tuned...
Sometimes change comes at you
Like a broadside accident
There is chaos to the order
Random things you can't prevent...