"I moved up into the Canadian back bush where I could be alone. I lived with kerosene, stayed away from electricity for about a year. I turned to nature. I was going down, and with that came a tremendous sense of knowing nothing. Western psychology might call it a nervous breakdown, but in certain cultures they call it a shamanic conversion.
I read just about every psychological book I could lay my hands on, and threw them all against the wall basically. But depression can be the sand that makes the pearl. Most of my best work came out of it. If you get rid of the demons and the disturbing things, the angels fly off too. So there is a possibility in that mire of an epiphany.
The artist is a canary in the coal mine. We're supposed to be out on the fringes of society, with an overview. If we are doing our work, we should be a little ahead of the strife. People would ask me if I was being a little negative. I'd say, 'No, aren't you being a little like an ostrich with your head stuck in the sand?'
I tried to train myself to be a realist. I am not cynical. To me it is, 'Can you get through this life with a good heart?' That has been my struggle. With all the injustice and all the things that piss you off, to try to get the heart to rebound. And bloom again, you know?"
-- Joni Mitchell