Why I love Patti Smith: fragments from M Train
I did not know much about her until I first read her autobiography Just Kids (Bloomsbury Paperbacks). I completely fell in love with her writing style.
I was able to know her a little bit, as I believe she has much more layers within. After that book, I started watching videos about her. The way she talks, is as wonderful as she writes. Something many great writers can not brag about. And vice versa, speakers are seldom great writers.
Then I kept reading her writing, her poetry. And then I found out that her second autobiography was coming out in October: M Train (Bloomsbury Publishing). I got it as soon as it arrived and after contemplating it with desire, I started reading it. And I didn’t stop until I was half way through it.
This is my general overview: the first book is powerful, fresh and dynamic. This second one is calmer, being death its main topic. Patti’s voice is human and strong in both books.
These are some attributes about her –from the many layers she possesses– paired with some fragments from M Train, so that you can see for yourselves:
Patti Smith is grateful:
The answer is in a book somewhere, in my own blessed library.
Patti Smith is honest and humble:
Personally, I’m not much for symbolism. I never get it. Why can’t things be just as they are?
My flight to New York got cancelled. Which I took as a sign.
I should really clean up my room, I was thinking, but I knew I couldn’t.
Patti Smith doesn’t fear detachment:
as I boarded my connecting plane I realized my hands were empty. I felt quite sad. A heavily marked-up paperback, my traveling companion and the mascot of my resurging energy.
The stone and the book: what did it mean? I took the stone from the mountain and it was taken from me. A kind of moral balance, I well understood. But the loss of the book seemed different, more capricious. Quite by accident I had let go of the string attached to Murakami’s well, the abandoned lot, and the bird sculpture.
Patti Smith is fun:
A photograph of Albert Camus hung next to the kitchen’s light switch. My son, seeing him every day, got the idea that Camus was an uncle who lived far away.
Patti Smith is a Questioner:
Walking home I stopped for a slice of pizza. I wondered if the triangular shape of the Flatiron Building had triggered my desire for it.
If I write in the present yet digress, is that still real time?
I went downstairs, eyeing rows of books, despairing of what to choose. A prima donna in the bowels of a wardrobe dripping with dresses, but with nothing to wear. How could I have nothing to read? Perhaps it wasn’t a lack of a book but a lack of obsession.
Patti Smith is feeling and intuitive:
Although I was unable to see inside the house I had no doubt that I had made the right decision. I already love you, I told the house.
My yearning for him [Fred] permeated everything –my poems, my songs, my heart. We endured a parallel existence, shuttling back and forth between New York and Detroit, brief rendezvous that always ended in wrenching separations.
Fred implored me to come and live with him in Detroit. Nothing seemed more vital than to join my love, whom I was destined to marry.
Patti Smith is insightful:
There is a theory that it is good luck to see one’s own hands in a dream.
I believe she’s an INFP. And if someone made a movie of her, it should be Charlotte Gainsbourg in it.