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Doodles of the Canyon Print-ready version

by Sam Richards
December 2019
Original article: PDF

"You can't really knock something 'til you know it---inside and out," writes Joni Mitchell in her breezy, loopy cursive. "I find that then, when you understand it, it's hard to knock it. You just feel it---laugh or cry." This valuable pearl of wisdom forms part of Mitchell's whimsical introduction to Morning Glory On The Vine, a compendium of drawings, poems and handwritten lyrics she had printed up in late 1971 as a Christmas gift for friends.

Many of those friends appear in the book, sketched vividly by Mitchell as sharp black outlines filled in with felt-tip: Graham Nash, David Crosby, James Taylor, Judy Collins, Neil Young and others in their Laurel Canyon orbit. The style is familiar from the sleeves to Ladies Of The Canyon and Court And Spark, but most of the pictures have never been seen outside Mitchell's circle of friends. Morning Glory On The Vine is a startlingly personal affair, even containing a poem called "The Fishbowl"---a prescient meditation on fame and beauty that Mitchell wrote aged 16 while having her hair made into a beehive for a snow-queen contest. Lyrics to famous songs such as "Both Sides Now" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard" appear in casual, handwritten form, sometimes with revealing illustrations.

"I used to carry a sketchbook around with me everywhere I went," explains Mitchell, in a new foreword. "Once when I was sketching my audience in Central Park, they had to drag me onto the stage. . . . The drawings were becoming more important to me than the music at that time." Here is an intimate insight as to how those two talents blossomed in harmony.

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Added to Library on June 7, 2021. (2546)


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