Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oh Patti Smith

I began this entry in July of this year when I picked up "Just Kids" on a trip to Ca. This is how it began.

You could very well be the death of me. I am on a plane heading to San Jose for a wedding and I picked up the Patty Smith bio at the airport book store. 25 pages in and I think I have cried 2-3 times already. Obviously this book is resonating in my heart and I am not even to the point where she is 20 years old yet. Good gracious! It is giving me such a drive to write my own story. To spill my life out on the page. Feelings and such that I have long buried from childhood, adolescence and adulthood. For whatever reason. All those things, all those moments have a place to be heard. They have a place in my history. They make up MY bio. All those things shaped who I am today and who I will become as the days go by. I have a tendency to wrap up my past in little packages and set them on a shelf, never to be unwrapped or examined, What’s done is done, I think seems to be my internal brain speak. I have days where I feel like my life as an Air Force brat living in the Panama Canal Zone or a major league baseball player’s wife seems like someone else’s life. But I forget that what’s done is what continues to mold me and shape me and I can pull from those boxes as I continue to shape who I am and who I want to be in the years to come. 

Now, as I am once again compelled to comment on this book, I find myself not wanting to read it for I dread the day when I finish it. I want to literally swim around in this prose, it is that beautiful and that fascinating to me. It's funny because I only have a surface knowledge of some of the names she mentions in the words. Some of my more "cultured" friends would probably be appalled at my lack of intimacy with names like Dylan Thomas and Brian Jones.  Give me time, I will get there on my own some day and if not, eh, not the end of the world as I know it. I think what  draws me most into this book is the way she beautifully recollects this city that 
I am so in love with. I hear it with a lover's voice when she paints a scene of the Chelsea Hotel or a trip to Coney Island. You can hear how her relationship with the streets of New York molded her and how each person she met along the way, famous or not left a little bit of themselves in her being. I think this is still true of this city today. It's one of the things I love most about it. We are all in this together, touching one anothers lives in big and small ways. Encouraging one another, creating things together, living. There are so many passages in this book that I want to wrap up and keep in little pretty boxes in my heart. Just a few to share with you, but seriously go get this book.  

"I was both scattered and stymied, surrounded by unfinished songs and abandoned poems. 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, kick it in."

"So many had written, conversed, and convulsed in these Victorian dollhouse rooms. So many skirts had swished these worn marble stairs. So many transient souls had espoused, made a mark, and succumbed here. I sniffed out their spirits as I silently scurried from floor to floor, longing for discourse with a gone procession of smoking caterpillars."

"I looked around at everyone bathed in the blood light of the back room. Dan Flavin had conceived his installation in response to the mounting death toll of the war in Vietnam. No one in the back room was slated to die in Vietnam, though few would survive the cruel plagues of a generation."


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