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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

entry arrow8:30 AM | I Look at Clouds at Both Sides Now

During his lecture yesterday on the songs of Joni Mitchell for the Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center at Silliman University, New York Writers Workshop co-founder Tim Tomlinson played two versions of one of her most iconic compositions, "Both Sides, Now": the precocious original from 1969 and a tonally different cover she made with an orchestra in 2000.

That last version broke my heart: it was a totally different song, with a deeper kind of gravitas -- and I guess it's because the pain in the lyrics has been leavened so thoroughly with the sound of experience. When the last line comes -- "I really don't know life at all" -- it finally becomes devastating because truer. Our art becomes different when we grow older, I guess, and the best of us learn to turn our adult mistakes and misadventures into a kind of poignant confession: we're just winging at life. I don't think she was romanticising her pain. I think she was just being true.

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