If you are from my generation, you will recognize clouds in my coffee as a line from "You're So Vain", a song by Carly Simon. There is book out now about three of the biggest women songwriters of my time, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King. I find it suprising how these women's songs were so achingly familiar to me, how much their lyrics were in my head and how much these songs had shaped me. What was suprising to me was that their lives were like so far from perfect.
Joni was born with the name of Roberta Joan to a mother who was quite strong. She had so many fears that her career would be taken away from her, she'd been lucky to have been able to meet people who helped her out along the way. I guess I thought everyone just saw talent and fell all over themselves to sign her on, but that is not what happened. In fact it was Joni's first husband Chuck who saw to it that her songs were published by her own publishing company at a very young age. It was David Crosby who insisted that Joni has creative control of her recordings. Only by luck do we have this fantastic body of work by this great artist.
Carly Simon was a girl who had suffered so deeply in love affairs and yet she still kept on trying to love and trying her best. Carly was a rich kid, but she was turned loose with a small amount of money and forced to get a job in New York. Her successes sometimes happened with years in between of no hit recordings suprisingly enough. I guess I thought that she'd had a perfect life.
Carole King I know almost nothing about I'm sorry to say, to me the emotional pull comes from Carly and Joni.
For in losing they also won, they moved on to new loves and were loyal to their friends. They lost people that they loved and went on to love again. I didn't know how difficult things had been for these women that I used to wish I was like. I wanted to be them. The men in their life of these women that you think of as so very strong were so important, and yet it seems that often they were left to fend for themselves. Maybe that is how gifts are, fleeting, a light in the night that disappears with the sun, so delicate that it is quickly eroded by time.