I am completely ensconced in, and enamored by, Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids. It’s about her moving to NYC in the 1960’s, starting a relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and figuring out her life path. The writing is lovely. Easy on the eyes. And the story moves right along, with mentions of Andy Warhol and so many interesting folk that I can hardly keep track. She goes through the list of Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, Sam Shepard, etc… without ever once sounding like a name-dropper. In fact, she makes them sound just like the “kids” that she and Robert are, all searching for their way. I was jumping up and down — no, literally, jumping up and down!!! — when I heard that this book won the National Book Award for nonfiction this year. Like the book-nerd I am, I followed the blog-feed of National Book Award night, and I listened to Patti’s speech with pleasure. When she described how, as that young kid she chronicles in Just Kids, she worked at Scribner’s bookstore and imagined what it might be like to have a book of her own on the shelf. Tears, people. Real, live, happy tears.
I’ve not been doing as much reading of late. Spending more time writing. In fact, today I holed-up in the local library with my noise-canceling headphones on and just worked. I’m hoping to read all the good books piling up on my shelf over the holidays. Fingers crossed. For someone who is normally a book-a-week (at least!) reader, this has felt so odd, but I’ve only so many brain cells I can devote to words on paper during the days, and then I have to go out and mingle with the three-dimensional world.
I’ve also discovered Betsy Lerner’s blog, which I read first thing every single morning. Love it. If you don’t add it to your list of blogs to follow, you’re missing out. It’s funny, and not politically correct, and smart, smart, smart. I have loved Betsy Lerner from afar since I read her book The Forest for the Trees a million years ago, one of the very best books on writing, and the writing life.