longing for discourse with a gone procession of smoking caterpillars

patti smith is a true badass.
the heart-gripping kind.
i'm reading her book right now, that i mentioned here. Just Kids.

darin read it first... and usually i am not really drawn to what i consider rock-n-roll history.
but he emphatically declared that i must read it and so i picked it up after i finished Blood Meridian.
by the first paragraph i was hooked.
...this book is so far beyond rock n roll;

it is art, passion, love, poetry, fates, tarot, magic, dreams.

and it is a lot about how she met robert mapplethorpe; the story two soul mates, and their adventures, and their blue star, their caring, their hunger, and the way they grew together as artists.

it is the spiritual journey that i seek with my own friends and family: i want to devote our lives to creation and creativity; to attempt to live that devotion daily.

i love reading patti's writing because she is a poet.
she knows all the great films; she relates life to artists and to characters and to snippets of poetry.
she channels characters from books in a way that is near and dear to me:
"I was wearing a long rayon navy dress with white polka dots and a straw hat, my East of Eden outfit."

"The Chelsea was like a doll's house in the Twilight Zone, with a hundred rooms, each a small universe."
i've never really been drawn to the romanticized version of new york life, even when the times were a-changin.
reading about patti and robert living in the chelsea hotel, oh man, my heart is exploding.
she writes, "So many had written, conversed, and convulsed in these Victorian dollhouse rooms....I sniffed out their spirits as I silently scurried from floor to floor, longing for discourse with a gone procession of smoking caterpillars."

she and robert make jewelry with feathers and wooden beads and tiny skulls, raiding fishing shops and secondhand stores for bits and knickknacks to inspire their work. she writes poetry, he creates collages from dirty men's magazines. they paint, they shape sculptures from chicken wire, she draws portraits of portraits, they discuss the benefits of polaroid film...
they make up word games and eat in cheap diners and discuss art day and night.

and all this before i even get to the part where she becomes a pivotal punkrock chick!

i am not really sure my point; i guess it's this:
i love patti smith
i love reading,
art is the way
magic exists in creation
and finally i am not ashamed to love outfits because patti did too and
it's all part of this great appreciation of style, artistic endeavor, creativity, expression, passion, characters, and inspiration. it's all related. we create our personaes, we make up who we want to be and for a minute or a day, or years, we become it.
true to ourselves with great confidence and humor and love.


Bee said…
ooooh child. patti smith is my girl. i found her when i was 14 and angry at nothing in particular but angry nonetheless, and listened to Horses over and over in my tape player. she is an american hero, no doubt, and a brilliant artist. i saw her play when i was 15 with my mama at the Bridge Benefit Concert. she was badass. i soooooo NEED THIS BOOK.

and baby, fashion is art! so don't ever feel bad about liking outfits. it's like a walking painting that you get to repaint every day!
Claire said…
I am doubly excited to read this book after your awesome review (nicely written, my dear) Patti Smith is one of my very favorite pivotal female artists, Her lyrics are so transporting.
Missa said…
I am going to start reading this book TOMORROW. It has been sitting on my shelf waiting for like a month now. After reading this amazing post, I AM SOLD.

You are such a master descriptor Heather, and from these quotes it sounds as though in Patti Smith you have found a kindred spirit in that respect… among others!
Missa said…
descriptor? describer?
Selena said…
My heart is literally racing after reading this! I can only imagine what an incredible read this book is... not to mention your review on it! Absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and truly powerful! EXACTLY the read I was looking for... Thank you
Anonymous said…
Honey, I think you could describe just about anything and make it sound like the most awesome thing in the world, even if it wasn't. Which this book is. Awesome, I mean, if only because of how lyrical her language is. I've never listened to Patti Smith and this seems like a crime. But I was only born in 1990, so I'm not guilty? Pfft, let me just go listen now.
Anonymous said…
Scratch that, I have listened to Patti Smith. I just didn't know it. The best part? I love her. The song I picked brings back memories of driving with my mom when I was three or four, listening to the radio with the windows down :) Thank you for prompting this memory, girl.
Milla said…
Ah, I have this book in the pile of "waiting-to-be-reads" and you just pumped it up the heaven high. Move over "Confederate General From Big Sur", "Room" and "Zen Running". (Or at least to the side. I like to have more than one going at any given time and I think I'm going to have to finish "Room", it's so nerve-recking ;) I knew it was going to be awesome, but having this insight from you has made it more so.

Thank you dearie!
Andrea said…
Heather- that was one bad-ass book review! I have read other things about this book, but only your post made me actually want to read the book. I love writing with imagery, throw in a love story and I'm there :) Also, thank you for comment about liking outfits. I just actually did a post about how I find my interest in fashion sometimes embarrassing but lovelies like you make me feel like its okay.
Yes! Patti , my punk rock goddess. I met her a few years back in Santa Cruz after one of the best shows of my life..wow..I asked her to sign the tshirt I just bought, and I wept into tears..I have never done that before to any rock star..well, if I met Neil Young I would probably barf, faint , wake up , then cry..all in that order.
great post moon!
anne said…
seems like a rad book! i don't know much about her but after reading this post i'm definately intrigued. speaking of rock biographies, after watching "fallen angel" i've been wanting to read one about gram parsons. i haven't read too many of these types of books, but i think the gram one would be worth it as well.
Nicky said…
What a beautifully written and full of excitement post! I love your fervor for things that make your heart beat and your soul exist! You are a passionate, fired up, fun loving soul! I think I wanna read this now! :D
Anonymous said…
I came across this post by chance and I must say that I completely agree with all of my heart. What you've said about the book, about Patti Smith, it all resonates so absolutely. When I put the book down she was apart of me, and always will be.

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