Tag Archives: carl jung

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

As someone who loves to take pictures, and is a big fan of street photography, this story really touched me. It’s nothing short of amazing and is absolutely inspiring.

Listen

It felt appropriate to introduce this week’s Read pick with a song by the author. Especially this song.

Read

I must confess, it took me a while to get into the rhythm of this book. There’s something different about reading poets who turn to novel/non-fiction writing. Their language is laden with a beautiful density. It’s like the breath of their sentences is deeper than that of book writers because they typically have so much less space to work with. Their words are more carefully chosen and layered with meaning. Novelists have that, too, but not in the same capacity as poets. Patti Smith is a poet. Once I let her voice take over, I dove into the depths of words and language. “Just Kids” is about art, sacrifice, and most importantly, love. There were moments where I entirely identified with Smith’s thoughts, feelings and actions. Other moments, the more brutal ones, made me think about art and its place in my life: How much would I be willing to sacrifice for my passion? It also brought to mind this Carl Jung quote:

“The artist’s life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him—on the one hand, the common longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire. There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire.”

There’s a ruthless passion in both Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, but I wondered if Smith ever wanted or needed the force of security. She makes clear Robert Mapplethorpe wanted it, but, during the time period the book covers, I wasn’t so sure about her. They sacrificed themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for the “divine gift of creative fire” and, through their sacrifice, changed the world(s) of art/music/photography/poetry — all of this while they were still just kids.

P.S. It always excites me to read books that take place literally outside my front stoop. There’s inspiration in stepping in the invisible footprints of the world’s great adventurers. While reading this book, there were a few times I stopped, walked out my door and over to the Hotel Chelsea just to read about that very building while standing in the lobby. I drank sangria in El Quijote while Smith’s words took me back to what it was like there in the 1969/1970. New York is a place full of ghosts and magic. Luckily, there are poets like Patti Smith who lead the exploration and became cartographers to the generations of young New York artists who will follow their paths.

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But Alive

It came back, my creative fire. I don’t mean the fire that strikes when I sit down to write, that’s more like a spark. This is a feel-it-in-your-gut, burning-desire kind of creative fire. And, all it took was one little offer to work on a project that sounds both crazy and amazing, with six people I know and love, and about 50 more who I will soon meet.

For the next five-and-a-half months, the job will keep me up at night with worry, make me anxious during the day, have me triple-checking my work for any screw-ups and won’t let me have much of a life outside of work. But I will be miserably, sickeningly, happy and proud. Proud that I got back up, back in, and am starting over again, but not from the perspective of a 22-year-old who doesn’t know what to expect. This time, I am a wizened 27-year-old, with many character-building moments under my belt and a confidence I most definitely did not possess at 22. A friend once told me, “you know you’re doing the right thing with your life when you feel equal parts excited and scared to do it. If you don’t have that feeling, then it’s not worth doing.” I feel it, and I am sooo ready.

And I so totally feel all of these things:

btw, vid is seriously campy, so close your eyes while you listen or you can keep them open for a good laugh.