Sam Shepard/Patti Smith Books Report

April 27, 2010

If you do like me and you sometimes see that you’re waistdeep immersed in a coupla  books simultaneously

I’ll recommend two (2) that in some way complement each other. On some level they work,    next door, for me.

   Artist/performer Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” is a sweet memoir and a tribute, I think, to her soul partner, the late Robert Mapplethorpe. I say sweet  because Patti’s voice is soft & clear throughout, its tenderness pervades her storytelling and her passions for things spiritual (Art, Music, God). Her courage to leave her loving family home without nearly enough money to go to NYC and to brave the obvious challenges for a new start there. Her  quest to make it as an artist and the creative heights it may lead her to, will demand much for her climb.

She’s resilient, courageous, passionately faith-filled, and tender.  You root for her, and Robert.


Another approach..not defined enough to root for..another journey is artist/performer Sam Shepard’s  “Day Out Of Days”.  Sam’s voice undercurrents his prosaic tales as he wanders America’s not-so-well-known highways, 2 lane blacktops, less beaten paths. The characters that use them, like the author himself, are characters indeed.

Instead of Patti’s exalted & reverential renderings of a majestic world where young artist gods stumble into a future where  something/anything can happen…Sam is one hardened cynic, one stoic watcher of  human folly and  devastation around him (including the guy in the mirror). He eloquently tells his short troubled tales (nightmares almost) with too few words that expand & expound on too much.  His dismal, beautiful glimpses raise many questions, while raising consciousness.

One book is fueled by a cool hope, another by a warm hopelessness. These two authors, in another world, another time…fiction & non-fiction, primal female & male spirit,  just might had found their opponents attractive,    as I have.


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