I’ve been listening to Patti Smith’s audio book “Just Kids” and from the get-go, it has made me want to cry. I enjoy hearing Patti’s voice recount her early years in New York. I like the simple things like the way she pronounces words like “drawing” in a New Jersey drawl. But mostly it’s hearing her talk about those early days with Robert Mapplethorpe and how they did everything they needed to in order to keep art alive in their lives.

When I hear her go into all these details, it brings back memories of my own early path, and then, I begin to feel a sadness of what might have been.

What might have been if I’d have only known what I wanted then. If I’d only had room enough in the suffering to ask myself what I wanted. I was too embedded in survival mode to even entertain the question. All I knew was that I needed stable income. “How is art going to pay the bills?” I thought. But I see now, that something so close to the core cannot be put up on an auction block.

I tried to do the “career as a means of survival, and art to supplement life “thing (aka night classes) but it just wasn’t enough. Now that I look back, I had more room to pursue art back then, but it’s amazing what you don’t see when you’re blinded by your own self-imposed limitations.

There has been that restless and irritated part in me for a while now, and it’s been more evident lately. It’s that 6th grader in me that is mouthy and annoyingly pushing buttons. In my last therapy session, my therapist reminded me that irritation is a sign of growth and movement. She also pointed out that this part of me (like all parts of me) serves me, but it can also destroy me if I push it away or try to shut it up. So how do I allow it a voice without having it wreak havoc?

Then it occurred to me, that cultivating my writing just may be the thing. Derby gave it some outlet, and I am experiencing a bit of a painter’s block, so I think writing is the next step.


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