#2015ReadingChallenge- A Memoir – Just Kids by Patti Smith

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I don’t know how she did it. Fire
She was shaking all over. It took
her hours to put her make-up on.
But she did it. Even the false eye-lashes.
She ordered gin with triple
limes. Then a limosine. Everyone
knew she was the real heroine of
Blonde on Blonde.
oh it isn’t fair
oh it isn’t fair
how her ermine hair
turned men around
she was white on white
so blonde on blonde
and her long long legs
how I used to beg
to dance with her
but I never had
a chance with her
oh it isn’t fair
how her ermine hair
used to swing so nice
used to cut the air
how all the men
used to dance with her
I never got a chance with her
though I really asked her
down deep
where you do
really dream
in the mind
reading love
I’d get
inside
her move
and we’d
turn around
and she’d
turn around
and turn the head
of everyone in town
her shaking shaking
glittering bones
second blonde child
after brian jones
oh it isn’t fair

how I dreamed of her
and she slept
and she slept
forever
and I’ll never dance
with her no never
she broke down
like a baby
like a baby girl
like a lady
with ermine hair
oh it isn’t fair
and I’d like to see
her rise again
her white white bones
with baby brian jones
baby brian jones
like blushing
baby dolls

Edie Sedgwick by Patti Smith

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I’m not one for poetry but I loved this.  Maybe it’s my inexplicable love for Edie Sedgwick (I really have no idea why i’m so obsessed😩); maybe my view on poetry has been altered drastically after reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids. And not just an altered perception with poetry but creativity and how it’s expressed by individuals and how they can co-exist. As Patti and Robert were to each other interchangeably: “the artist and the muse”

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Since the new year, I have read 3 biographies: Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles and More Fool Me and Patti Smith’s Just Kids.  One excited my appetite for knowledge; the other inspired the creativity in me (if there is any – the self I deprecating side of me says)

When I picked up Just Kids I figured I would enjoy it but I did not expect it to affect me the way it did. From the word go, I was moved. Patti and Robert’s relationship was beautiful. The intimacy was beautiful. Their relationship was not based on the  physical or on sex but something more profound: love, respect, security, need, inspiration. Co-existing as artist and muse. It’s a relationship template to aspire to – to have someone to love, respect, and inspire.

And speaking of insirational, Patti Smith has a profound and unexpected place in my life. I idolise, respect, admire and relate to so much of what I read in this book.

I read the opening chapter (introduction, prologue, preface) and cried. Her style of writing was beautiful; her story inspiring; the ending having a quality of both tragic and hopeful. I cried at the end – it was perfect symmetry. It was a heartbreaking end to a beautiful relationship. There were elements there that I could relate to. My heart broke not just for the loss of life but the loss of love. The lose of creativity and inspiration. And yet how beautiful and wondrous that Robert should live on through Patti and her work. The reason why physical CD s are so important.

Here’s a hypothetical: you walk into the CD store – yes, they still exist. You scan through the albums until you get to the S section. You come across an album by Patti Smith, one you’ve never seen before. But the album cover strikes you – a young woman in a white shirt with a black jacket slung over her shoulder. You’re looking at Patti. You’re seeing Robert.

It’s not just her creativity that inspired me. Her fashion sense as well. Her unfaltering and adaptable faith in God. What struck me was Smith’s resourcefulness. Her life in New York started off rough – no steady home but she made it work for her and grew and developed with so many homes and support systems.

I borrowed this book from the library but because it touched me so much and I related to it so much I’m going to pick up my own copy. And keeping in the spirit of Patti, I’m going to go to my favorite 2nd hand shops in search of the perfect copy. And although I usually hate marking my books with notes, annotations, connotation s, I plan to mark all the passages that inspire me as a mark of love and to remind myself when I lose that inspiration that creativity can be found in anything anywhere. A constant source of inspiration for me. Always.

Thank you, Patti.
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Next up: A Book Turned Into A Film – The Fountainhead

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