Channeling Janis Joplin, Part One

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! My husband finished his motorcycle racing season— his first ever — and in his four race categories in the entire south central U.S., he has two firsts and two seconds for the year. pretty damn good for an old man! I know Erik must be very proud.

Here’s one of his race starts in his backup Ducati. His 1198 broke a timing belt in practice. He’s up front in the red bike, second stage start.

In keeping with the era, Janis followed Jimi in our interviews for that session. Enjoy.

Me: Shall we interview Janis Joplin next, Erik?

Erik: Yeah, let’s stick with the music, today.

Erik disappears, then reappears with Janis.

Jamie: Wow, she really does have that voice!

Me: Oh! Well, hello, Janis!

Janis: Hello there, Elise.

I suppress the urge to correct her pronunciation of my name and go on.

Me: Welcome to our little party, here!

Janis: Yeah, I’ve heard about it all from Erik.

Me: Great! Well, I’m a big fan of yours!

Jamie (chuckling): Oh, I wish I could imitate her voice!

Janis (in her Texas twang): Thank ya. Thank ya very much.

Me: I’m still waiting for the Lord to give me my Mercedes Benz, but I guess he didn’t get that memo! Still waitin’.

Jamie laughs.

Me: So, Janis, did you have any specific beliefs about Heaven or death before you passed on?

(Long pause as Jamie listens)

Jamie: She says she’s from Texas.

Me: You know, I think that’s right! East Texas maybe? Go Texas!

Janis: And you know how they teach things in Texas.

Me: Oh, yeah!

Janis: And that’s how I was raised.

Me: Southern Baptist?

Janis: Yes, sort of, but not quite. Maybe that’s why my favorite drink was Southern Comfort! (She lets out a scratchy laugh.)

Me: Tell me more.

Janis: Everything you can imagine that was taught inside my church, that was inside my head.

Me: And when you crossed over, what realizations, if any, did you have?

Janis: That what I learned in the church was everything I did NOT experience when I died!

Jamie: She’s laughing and laughing. She has this unkempt hair, and when she started laughing, she kind of dives her fingers into it and tousles it in the way you’d do it if you were messing up your hair.

Me: Yeah, um hm. I can just see her in my mind’s eye.

Jamie: I don’t see any bangs or anything; it’s just—

Me: All over the place?

Jamie: Yeah, like a hippie. Parted right down the middle. She’s wearing hues of purple: lavender, dark purples, indigoes. Very, very cool.

Me: Janis, what was your transition like for you?

Janis: Hell, it was the biggest release I’ve ever, ever had.

Me: Was it accidental?

Janis (chuckling): No, Honey. I don’t think anybody does that accidentally!

Me: I guess you have a point there! Can you elaborate?

Jamie: She’s messing with her hair again.

(Long pause)

Jamie: She, uh—start over, Janis. I’m sorry.


Jamie: It’s like I can hear her words, but my mouth doesn’t want to open to talk about it.

Me: Sometimes my mouth doesn’t cooperate either.

Jamie: Erik is swinging his feet off the counter like a little kid.

Me: Yeah, he used to do that a lot.

Jamie: His posture’s all collapsed it; he’s not sitting up straight at all. He’s like hunched over.

Me: That’s him, all right! 

Jamie: Wow. She’s talking about her life and how it built up to when it was her time to leave, and how she’s saying she was happy to leave.

Janis: I couldn’t find much joy and connection with other people. My worst trait was being critical of other people. Maybe that’s why it was so bad, because I just couldn’t judge. I was criticized so much in my life for my appearance, even as a younger kid.

Me: Aw.

Janis: I never fit into what other people thought I should. Maybe a bit of that set me free and allowed me to be who I was, but I didn’t have any of that grounding naturally as a family, grounding with friendships. The only thing that really grounded me was my ability to put pen to paper.


Janis (laughing): I don’t even really think I was that great of a singer! I just wanted to get it out, and that’s just the way it ended up coming.

Me: Yeah. Now, what do you mean, you couldn’t judge?

Janis: Well, like if somebody was good for you or bad for you, you know?

Me: Oh, I see. I understand.

Janis: I just didn’t know how to line things up and assess them. The easy thing for me to do was to ground myself with what I could do best, and even that, alone—grounding yourself to poetry and music and drugs—what’s grounding all of those three elements? Not much!

Me: Yeah. I suppose not. So, tell me more about your death.

Janis: I remember hitting the floor and lying there. I had a hard time deciding if I was feeling so good about it or if I was scared.

Me: Oh!

Janis: Maybe because of who I was and how I was taught, if judgment was coming upon you if you were dying, I figured I was in big trouble.

Me: Yeah.

Janis: And none of that happened. I wasn’t told Heaven or Hell; I wasn’t told good nor bad. I was welcomed, and for the first time in my life I was looked at for who I was instead of what I could do. It was eye-opening. 

Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow. Now, enjoy her song, Mercedes Benz. Gotta love that Texas accent, huh?

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Elisa Medhus

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