Devotion (Why I Write)
Journey through Smith’s creative life with this ethereal, magical work. Less handbook, more personal journal, Smith takes us from a fictional tale of artistic obsession to a sweeping account of her own writing process. An amazing storyteller, Smith’s awe-inspiring look at the mysterious yet beautiful nature of art is sure to inspire your own writing practice. Divided in three parts, this unusual genre-defying work is a must-read for any creative.
Patti Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession—a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus’s house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil’s grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano’s novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.
The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.