Seeking Inspiration: Patti Smith
This post is part of a series on JustB profiling women who inspire, motivate and challenge us.
These posts are supported by Seek Learning
A favourite inspiring lady: Patti Smith
Her work: Writer, musician, artist, activist, photographer, poet, mother
Where she lives: United States
The quality I love most about this person: Her Patti-ness
Notable achievements: So many. Patti’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s been awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. Crazily best-selling book. Honorary Doctorate, the Katherine Hepburn Medal. I could go on and on…
Something good that she’s said: In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. Or perhaps: I’m more worried about the death of a bee than I am about terrorism
My takeaway from Patti: An interesting, exciting, gentle, creative, kind life is possible! Also: It’s okay to cut your hair like Keith Richards if you want to.
Gah. I don’t know what happened in my life, but I didn’t really pay much attention to Patti Smith until recently. I guess that’s kind of embarrassing if you’re a cool kid. But I’m not a cool kid, I’m a bit of a dork finding my way. I’m okay with the whole late-blooming thing. Which leads me back to Patti.
The only thing I really knew about Patti Smith was that she had a hit in the late 70s with a song she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen, Because The Night.
Of course, now that I know a bit more about Patti, I realise that as ace as that track is, it’s not really what Patti is all about. It’s just scratching the surface.
Patti Smith is a true bohemian. She writes poetry and songs. She plays music and paints. She reads the classics, travels the world, cherishes family and friends in the sweetest way. She’s a really amazing lady who digs deep and pays homage to art and literature in her work. She’s created awesome things with SUPER interesting people, particular but open to collaboration and the magic that brings. (Think Johnny Depp, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin.)
I guess it’s hard to get to know people through books and film, but she really does come across as such a kind, sweet person. She looks at things from a very empathic angle. She seems to be all about really listening, good intentions and a kind of curious, calm acceptance. I like those things.
Patti has had a few intense love affairs in her life. The first with Robert Mapplethorpe, the next with Alan Lanier and then with Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith who she married and had children with. She’s a lover, not a fighter, for sure. She’s written lots of songs about being a mother and her kids are musicians. You would NEVER have seen her on the cover of a magazine tote-ing baby and pointing at her washboard abs. She would have been cozied up, doing regular family stuff and singing lullabies instead. She’s kind of NORMAL… in a hyper-normal way.
Dubbed the Godmother of Punk, she’s really so much more than that. She’s a creative, feisty, inspiring lady who seems determined to carve her own path and live her life in a way that is a true reflection of herself. She doesn’t coast. She steers the boat, heart on sleeve, dreams in focus, fresh perspective fully engaged. Brave and awesome in ways I love to see (but could never be!)
I love her. She’s ace.
Find out more about Patti:
Watch the documentary Dream of Life : Fantastic scenes of Patti with her kids and parents, and also of her painting. Super ace.
Read Just Kids: The story of Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe’s friendship.
Read Dancing Barefoot: Patti’s biography by Dave Thompson
Listen to: So many great albums! I really love this one.
Which women would you put on your ‘inspiring’ list?