“A painter who sings…”

This morning I heard part of an interview with singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell on NPR. Of course, in the background of the talking was her signature voice, going from deep to high. She called it her “helium voice”.

Now, to be completely honest, I don’t know many Joni Mitchell songs. I’ve heard the one they play on the Starbucks station every once in awhile. Something about Saskatchewan. I can barely say that word let alone sing it! But I do know that she’s a well loved Canadian folk singer who began her career in the 1960’s.

I was surprised, though, that in her interview, she described herself as “a painter who sings”. She identifies as a visual artist.

Joni-Mitchell_DreamlandShe said that she started playing music so she had money to buy cigarettes.

How about that?

And all the struggling singer/songwriters of the world just bashed their heads against the wall.

According to the internet, her paintings adorned all of her album covers.

And all the struggling visual artists just signed up for guitar lessons.

The interview made me think about how many artsy-fartsy types are gifted in more than one area.

It makes me wonder how many of my friends have talents I don’t know about. Like, maybe you’re an accountant by day and a saxophone player by night. Or a poet publicly who keeps her spelling bee trophies hidden in the garage. Perhaps you play a mean guitar riff and have the ability to change a tire in 60 seconds (I don’t know if that’s even possible).

How about you? Do you have a hidden talent? Can you yodel like a lonely goatherd? Or can you figure out complex math equations in your head? Are you an organizational guru or can you sketch out a cartoon to entertain your kiddos?

I think that we’re often fixated on all the things we can’t do and forget to share the things we can do.

So, what is it that you can do? I’d love to know.

5 Comments on ““A painter who sings…”

  1. I’m a writer who really loves trigonometry. I’ve never thought anything much about that until I mentioned it recently and a friend’s jaw dropped open in surprise, “but…but…you’re a writer!”
    Yes. I’m a writer who loves pure mathematics, and is still a bit sad that she never quite grasped the proper plotting of the X and Y axis in calculus in year 11.
    Apparently this is a rare thing.


  2. I’m a really good sweeper!! And vacuumer!! Gimme a dusty/dirty floor, and I’m all over it with the sweeing and vacuuming! Especially if I put John Denver on the stereo (it’s a childhood-conditioning thing).

    Other than that, I’m kinda useless (according to my teen-aged offspring).


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