As it turned out, a few years ago I was in Aspen, Colorado, for a design conference, and one of the evening activities was a book-launch party for Burden himself. All of the attendees were given a copy of a slim, FSC-certified monograph—the evening was sponsored by the Domtar sustainable paper company—and Gary was there with Sharpie in hand. I waited patiently in line, my finger tucked into the Joni Mitchell Blue page, and as I approached him, opened it up, offered it to him, and told him how much I loved the album and all that it had meant. He looked at me with what can only be described as a combination of outrage and near disgust. "I'm not going to write on her cover!" he declared, "and if you loved her as much as I do you'd understand that, man." I recoiled, bewildered, then embarrassed: He had felt that his signature would be defacing the art, and offered to sign the inside cover of the book instead.
The next person in line moved forward, and I slunk out of there ... yup, blue.