In one of the golden, waning years of the 1960s, Chuck Mitchell told his young wife to read Saul Bellow’s novel Henderson the Rain King. It was not a gesture of marital kindness so much as a power move: Chuck was older and more educated than Joan, and to her ears, his book recommendations always came with a tone of condescension. (“I’m illiterate,” she bemoaned to a friend around that time. “My husband’s given me a complex that I haven’t read anything.”) Chuck and Joan were both folk singers who played as a duo—together if not exactly equal. He was traditional where she was itchily forward-thinking (“Lately he’s taken to saying I’m crazy and blind,” she’d later sing in one of her own songs, “He lives in another time”). She had, on her guitar, an ability to find strange new tunings that Chuck called “mystical.” His penchant for making his wife feel decidedly un-genius-like was most likely born out of a terror—one that grew stronger with each day—that she actually was one.