Friday, April 9, 2010

A Short Blog in Praise of Patti Smith

So many new hardcover books out there are built to be approached with reverence. Heavy, silken paper. A delicate font. An overabundance of blank pages that sacrifice trees in order to create prestige. If non-fiction, artsy photographs strategically placed. Very few, however, provide the spiritual sustenance promised in such a package. Either the matter is better housed between the yielding comfort of a mass market paperback or the words are simply sham, spouted from the pen of a false preacher.

Patti Smith’s new book, Just Kids, is one of the few new works where the language does justice to its wrappings. A delight from the first sentence, Smith’s writing reaches the poetic heights one would expect from her, only rarely – very rarely – dipping a into sentimental realms.
I had the luxury of attending a Patti Smith concert in an intimate setting shortly after the release of her album, Gone Again. This show was also enlightening and powerful and I hope she embarks on a spoken word tour in support of this book.

Her writing is honest and non-judgmental, non-emotional, even when she questions or doubts. Smith captures the little details that make a life worth living and watching her live her own life is inspiring and comforting. She is always herself. She simply steps into the world and trusts that everything will work out. And it does.

Great read, on so many levels – auto-biography, biography, slice of NYC history, gorgeous writing, spiritual inspiration, the hatching of an artist’s path, and just plain old entertaining.

On the Bookshelf: Whatever is delivered next from my local library.

On the iPod: Bow Thayer’s Shooting Arrows at the Moon and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Beat the Devil’s Tattoo.

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