Two years ago I went to a Patti Smith concert, and it is one of the best musical experiences I’ve had. While I of course had heard a few of her songs before, this was the first time I really got them. If you ever have an opportunity to see Patti Smith live, please do so, she has a certain ability to take hold of a crowd and inspire them. And I feel so lucky to have experienced it. Ever since then I have been wanting to read her books, and now (finally) thanks to my Should Read challenge I have started her book Just Kids.
The reason Patti Smith inspires me to be more creative is that Just Kids chronicles a life that is not easy, that breaks you down and that doesn’t give out rewards. But Patti Smith never stops creating and she never stops being who she is. And I think that’s a big part of her later success, there are so many points she could have given up, so many points she could have chosen an easier life, but she didn’t. And when you fight to get somewhere, you appreciate it so much more. You can feel the dedication Patti Smith feels to her craft in everything she does.
In Just Kids Patti Smith talks about her early life with Robert Mapplethorpe in New York. She talks about wanting to be an artist, of growing up, of the people she meet and the people that inspired her. I went to see a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in Oslo, and after reading the book as well, his pictures are even more haunting.
I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations. And then I met a fellow who gave me his secret, and it was pretty simple. When you hit a wall, just kick it down.
This quote from the book sums it all up for me. We all hit walls in our creative lives, imagined or otherwise, but the trick is to keep going, to kick the walls down. And in the end it will all be worth it.
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Her other book M Train is in my reading challenge as well, and I can’t wait to get started on it!
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