What I like About Patti Smith

Since my last year in college, Patti Smith always seems to be out there someplace singing, writing or popping up with a new memoir . Her recent book, Just Kids chronicles her relationship with the artist and photographer Robert Maplethorpe, her kindred spirit. Both meet as they journey to artisthood. Smith arrives by bus from South Jersey and meets Maplethorpe in Brooklyn in the neighborhoods surrounding Pratt. Maplethorpe has dropped out of the art school jus as Smith removed herself from a teachers college to devote themselves full time to exploring their inner spiritual lives and to finding their medium. Both draw, photogrph, write and ultimately Smith picks up the guitar. Both charm the art world, creeping closer to becoming celebrities. Along the way, they work dismal jobs in book stores,, dressing windows and in Maplethorp’s case, even turning tricks, although that might be a part of his exploring the dark side. Skinny, willing to forgo food for art supplies, they devote themselves to their arts, he ultimately finding his way to the camera. They forge an air tight friendship after their love affair is turned off track by Maplethorp’s homosexuality. However they are truelly brother and  sister of the soul, their devotion to each other’s well being undeniable as they explore other love interests. Time, illness and geograpy does not sever their deep bond. Patti Smith devotes this book to Maplethorpe who died in 1987. Anyone who dreams of becoming an artist should read this to see just what the sacrifices entail. it’s not always a pretty picture but if you are driven and have no choice and little bit of talent, who knows where it might lead. Just look at Patti Smith.


About valeri84

I am the cultural reporter for the Highland Park Mirror and I am also the Coordinator of Circulation and Public Relations for the Highland Park Public Library. I am responsible for adult programming for the library and for the past seven years have founded and organized The Friends of the Library Poetry Night Series. My poetry will appear in the Fall 2012 Patterson Literary Review.
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