Devotion (Why I Write)
By: Patti Smith
Yale University Press; Reprint edition (September 4, 2018)
Devotion (Why I Write) is a poetic memoir that highlights selected glimpses of the writing life. The romantic life portrayed comes across in fiction, travel, and the rhythmic poetry of everyday life. More than I already do – this book made me want to read and write full-time. To spend the days lost with paper and words. I also devoured both of Smith’s previous memoirs Just Kids and M Train. If you care about writing and art, read Patti Smith.
Two of my favorite quotes:
Why is one compelled to write? To set oneself apart, cocooned, rapt in solitude, despite the wants of others. Virginia Woolf had her room. Proust his shuttered windows. Marguerite Duras her muted house. Dylan Thomas his modest shed. All seeking an emptiness to imbue with words. The words that will penetrate virgin territory, crack unclaimed combinations, articulate the infinite. The words that formed Lolita, The Lover, Our Lady of the Flowers.
There are stacks of notebooks that speak of years of aborted efforts, deflated euphoria, a relentless pacing of the boards. We must write, engaging in a myriad of struggles, as if breaking in a willful foal. We must write, but not without consistent effort and a measure of sacrifice: to channel the future, to revisit childhood, and to rein in the follies and horrors of the imagination for a pulsating race of readers.