Monday, March 22, 2010

Just Kids, Patti Smith

BEST OF 2010
There are certain times when a book falls into your hand at the right time. Patti Smith's memoir is one of those books. As I have struggled with the idea of "who am I as an artist?" over the past couple of months, it was lovely to read about the struggle of coming to terms with being an artist. And, the struggles of growing into the concept of an artist.

I admire the people filling this memoir. Those who gave up on everything expected of them to follow their dreams. Poetry, music, literature, painting, photography, etc. The Chelsea Hotel is a dream come true to me. A commune of lost souls creating. Feeding off of each other. Perhaps, also, destroying one another. The complexity of the way we rely on others who may not be our best option.

Many reviewers have found the name dropping to be unnecessary. But, it adds to the reality of this period. When artists were their own small celebrity circle. Before the mass audience started to be so interested in these 'other' artists. Also, many have complained too many of Smith's memories seem made up. I have always hated this complaint about a memoir. In writing one has to create. Even when writing non-fiction. And, don't we all remember the way we need to remember? Not necessarily the way it painfully did happen?

The love story of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe is very interesting. The confusion of sex and gender. The way they were one, but so much two. There is a great sadness in the way she writes of their slow separation into different worlds. The innocence of Patti Smith is the most shocking parts of this memoir.

She has always inspired me. As I closed the book last night I started to cry. Once again inspired. Once again asking myself if I was on the right path. Once again wanting so much to focus more on my own writing.

This is a memoir more on the process of becoming an artist and less about two young lovers.


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