Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Shelf: Just Kids

It's been awhile since I've done a "Book Shelf" post, and I just HAVE to fill y'all in on this one.

Todays review is for Just Kids by Patti Smith, the legendary singer/songwriter/artist.  
I'm always a little unsure about reading books written by celebs.  But I have heard such great things about Just Kids that I had to try it out.
I have always loved Patti Smith's music, and I was so drawn to her way with words.  Each sentence was like a poem.  Everything was written with such thought and magic.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when she wrote about her experiences with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.  Like Smith, I've always loved listening to Joplin and Hendrix and still feel some profound sadness at their untimely deaths, even if I was alive at that time.  She wrote about her feelings of loss and loneliness about the deaths of Joplin and Hendrix.  

Smith wrote this poem about Joplin and I absolutely love it:

i was working real hard
to show the world what i could do
oh i guess i never dreamed
i’d have to
world spins some photographs
how i love to laugh when the crowd laughs
while love slips through
a theatre that is full
but oh baby
when the crowd goes home
and i turn in and i realize i’m alone
i can’t believe
i had to sacrifice you

Their deaths shocked her greatly.  She wrote:

“i was both scattered and stymied, surrounded by unfinished songs and abandoned poems. i would go as far as i could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations. and then i met a fellow who gave me his secret, and it was pretty simple. when you hit a wall, just kick it in.”

  It was prose like that that made me both unable to put the book down and wanting to put the book down for fear it would end too soon.

One of my all time favorite quotes from the book is this right here:

“say anything,” he said. “you can’t make a mistake when you improvise.”
“what if i mess it up? what if i screw up the rhythm?”
“you can’t,” he said. “it’s like drumming. if you miss a beat, you create another.”
in this simple exchange, sam taught me the secret of improvisation, one that i have acces
sed my whole life

I think I relate to it so much because I believe it is how we all should live.  So what if we mess up?  Life is simply about improvising alone the way.  If something happens, just do something else to fix it.

I highly recommend everyone to go purchase this book.  I underlined so many amazing passages, these included, and found myself wanting to reread everything over and over. 

Don't you love when a book captures you like that?

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