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Why I Write
By Patti Smith
Narrated by Patti Smith / 2 hours 8 minutes
“There is reading done for entertainment and there is reading done for art; For the magical way that authors can craft words into a sentence and that sentence sends your brain into a technicolor haze; A closed-eye sigh knowing that the author has bewitched you for a moment and the act of reading becomes almost meditative. Patti Smith has this effect on me with whatever she writes. For you, it may be someone else but Patti? She is my brain's equivalent of a few soothing breaths and a meditative stroll through some imaginary garden where the ghosts of all my good thoughts linger.In Devotion, Patti Smith examines the act of writing as an act of devotion. She begins by describing her journey to Paris as an adult to talk to her French publishers about her new book. She tries to write but words escape her and seemingly benign moments turn beautiful. She describes watching figure skating with her father as a child. She describes the eggs she eats over breakfast; about recognizing a bench she once sat at with her sister years earlier. After a time, her reflections and musings transform into a short story about a memorizing young figure skater, alone in the world whose driving passion is to skate and who is pulled in other directions by life and love, but understands only her devotion to the one thing she loves. Patti makes me want to write; to stroll through old French cemeteries looking for the names of people I admire. If you, like me, have read her and love her, or if you are looking to read her work, I would suggest her work on audio. Pairing the particular cadence of her slight accent, the way she says "pillah" instead of pillow, "burries" instead of berries only adds magic to her words. Do not operate machinery or read while under the influence. She will leave you drunk on words and isn't that just a beautiful thing?”Chelsea, McLean & Eakin Booksellers
From the renowned artist and author Patti Smith, an inspired exploration of the nature of creative invention.A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic-its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture's beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.Patti Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession-a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus' house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil's grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano's novels. Whether writing in a cafe or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.
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