How Patti Smith learned to be a writer

patti smith | AnnDalyWriter.com

“Patti Smith, 1987” by Robert Mapplethorpe

I’ve been enthralled by all the Patti Smith interviews marking the publication of her second memoir, M Train. So much so that I went to BookWoman to buy it and its predecessor, Just Kids. (But I’m not allowed to start reading them until I finish my essay on two Georgia O’Keeffe exhibits.)

About developing her writing discipline, Smith told Vogue:

“I also developed a writing discipline in those years [being a wife and mother in Detroit]. I’d never had one before. I’d been an artist — “I only write at night,” or “I have to smoke a little pot,” or “I have to have the right little desk.” And then those things changed. All of a sudden I had to find my time for writing within my very demanding domestic world. So I started waking up at five o’clock in the morning, when the kids were still asleep, and writing until they woke up for school at eight. I did that all through the ’80s, every single day — I have stacks and stacks of unpublished writing. That’s when I learned to be writer. Just Kids didn’t come out of flotsam and jetsam. It came from years of developing a discipline.”

(PS–Notice the homage to O’Keeffe in the photo?)

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