Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun. This blog hop is hosted by The Armchair Squid. Click on the link to sign up and join us.
I admit I didn't finish M Train by Patti Smith during the past month, but I've wanted to share this book with you for a while. I'm also not good at following rules––unless they're grammatical.
I have a thing for Patti Smith. It's the kind of love that began slowly and then grabbed me by the throat. She's so . . . Patti Smith. Poet, performer, songwriter, winner of The National Book Award for Just Kids, photographer, High Priestess of Punk, mother, widow.
In M Train, Smith allows us to travel with her as she has the honor of photographing artist Frida Kahlo's belongings in Mexico, attends the meeting of an Arctic Explorer's Society in Berlin, buys a falling down cottage in Far Rockaway that is alone in surviving Hurricane Sandy, and visits the graves of other artists who are important to her, including that of Sylvia Plath (a pilgrimage I've long wished to make myself).
As she writes and drinks coffee wherever she goes, it's apparent that the death of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith, is never far from her mind. Her images are so hauntingly elegiac that they break my heart.
But as is turned out I could barely read on the plane. Instead I watched the movie Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey reminded me so much of Fred that I watched it twice. Midflight I began to weep. Just come back, I was thinking. You've been gone long enough. Just come back. I will stop traveling; I will wash your clothes. Mercifully, I fell asleep, and when I awoke snow was falling over Tokyo.
Patti Smith makes me long to just be, and to feel less ashamed of my tears. Loss is such a big part of life, but so is gain.
Infinities of love,