Patti Smith – M Train

Patti Smith

 

I’ve just finished reading Patti Smith’s M Train and three days later I am still feeling empty and sad that it’s over.  This book  is billed as a memoir but it’s so much more than that, brimming with poignancy, wise but careful observations and a  simple, child-like take on the many things that she encounters in her everyday life. And, let me just say, that the writing is exquisite.

Consider the following:

We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother’s voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don’t go. Don’t grow. (page 209, M Train)

It was also surprising to me that Smith is perhaps not the “angry” poet I was expecting as some of her earlier punk music/work might suggest; rather, she looks after her cats tenderly and is clearly a gentle and devoted mother. Her way of seeing and reporting beauty in the everyday is very Buddhist to me and her rapt devotion and understanding of all things Bloomsbury (she’s actually photographed and stayed at Charleston House and Monk’s House – both lofty ambitions of my own!) also resonates with me since I absolutely share that fascination and am no stranger to cherishing a special piece of rock or a translucent piece of china with a cheerful, chintz motif myself.  Continue reading

To Blog or Not to Blog

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I haven’t been here for a while (hola, you ten faithful readers in Brazil who keep on visiting!) and I have no excuse, save the fact that my blogging mojo has been seriously depleted of late and I have devoted more time than I care to admit to feeling badly about my writing and being completely intimidated by other more polished blogs and writers who look edgy and are all geometric-hipster-haircuts and matte lip colour.

I’ve been writing on and off my whole life and certainly I have been published regularly in that short blasts of non-fiction/fiction here and there kind of way but it’s not really satisfying to me. It’s like making do with cheese and crackers and pretending it’s enough when actually, you are still starving; in fact, it’s like you are pretending you even like cheese and crackers in the first place.

I don’t know why short fiction has an inferiority complex but to me it does. I want the depth of a novel behind me, something I can point at and say, there, see that? I wrote that and there is my name and photo even if the same book is now wedged in the remainder bin … Continue reading