“I wasn’t attractive, I wasn’t very verbal, I wasn’t very smart in school. I wasn’t anything that showed the world I was something special, but I had this tremendous hope all the time. I had this tremendous spirit that kept me going… I was a happy child, because I had this feeling that I was going to go beyond my body physical… I just knew it.” ~ Patti Smith
Patti Smith is a heroine of mine. Poet, musician, painter, and photographer, I fancy this self portrait something close to what she might take of herself. It is an unvarnished image of an aging woman with spirit and hope. A woman in her full power. A woman wearing yesterday's smudged make-up.
It took me 61 years to take.
But I have been oh so very busy. With a young, pretty face, a big mouth, smarts and work ethic, I have been filling the decades on autopilot, gathering up houses, clothes, jewelry, paintings and philanthropy. A women who long ago abandoned a creative journey for lack of ROI.
....all the while Patti Smith has been whispering along the periphery
..."you have no fxxking courage"
When 'Just Kids' was first published, I devoured it, struck by the audacious confidence which landed Patti in 1967 NYC. Unconstrained by conventional beauty, she relied on her essential being as a creative, not a false outer narrative. Fueled by "tremendous hope", she allowed herself to be uncomfortable, to experiment, ultimately creating groundbreaking art, until recognition found her.
And so as youth leaves my decaying body -- and the confidence of experience fills it -- I find myself creating instinctual visual and written works, and nurturing the works of others. I am unbound by the limitations of convention.
In "A Book of Days', Patti publishes her Instagram images from 366 days. The platform is how I began my return to creativity with a similar a year-long project. That is as close as I will get to her talents.
But I find myself in late bloom living with her "tremendous spirit".
With the benefit of the deep gratitude that comes with age and a wonder for what lies ahead.