I think I owe an explanation. I know that Patti Smith is known more as a singer-songwriter than as a writer (though I would hope that Bob Dylan’s Nobel prize has blurred these boundaries for good). But I love Patti’s words almost as much (or maybe more- don’t hate me) than her music- I love her poems, her books, and every single word that she puts out in the world with so much compassion. Reading ‘M Train’ this year, snuggled up in my favorite couch in New Orleans, was probably one of my happiest days of the year. Reading about her adventures of going to the Blue House in Mexico City, then led me to follow her and go there too. There, with my best travel partner, I found the poem she wrote lying on Frida’s bed:
I can’t explain the delicious things this did to me <3.
Since one of my self-imposed conditions of making these portraits was that I must be personally touched by the words of the woman I am making, I don’t think I have been as touched by any other P-woman-writer as I have been by Patti. In fact, I think this year has been all about Joan Didion and Patti Smith for me, my heart has marinated in the words, sorrow, and adventures of these two women living on such different spectrums of the American society.