Patti Smith lived free and feral. If you need some justification on following creative instinct, even if it's leading towards poverty then this book will justify all your inherent yearnings to continue.
Here's a couple of extracts to tease:
(Patti on her early days with robert Mapplethorpe)
'We got the subway out to Brooklyn found the key and let ourselves into the apartment.
We both fell shy when we entered, not so much because we were alone together as that it was someone else’s place. Robert busied himself making me comfortable and then, in spite of the late hour, asked if I would like to see his work that was stored in a back room. Robert spread it out over the floor for me to see. There were drawings, etchings, and paintings. Paintings and drawings that seemed to emerge from the subconscious.
I had never seen anything like it. We looked at books on Dada and Surrealism and ended the night immersed in Michelangelo. As dawn broke we fell asleep in each other’s arms. When we awoke he greeted me with his crooked smile, and I knew he was my knight.
As if it was the most natural thing in the world we stayed together, not leaving each other’s side save to go to work. Nothing was spoken; it was just mutually understood.'
'I had no concept of what life at the Chelsea Hotel would be like when we checked in, but I soon realised it was a tremendous stroke of luck to wind up there. We could have had a fair-sized railroad flat in the East Village for what we were paying, but to dwell in this eccentric and damned hotel provided a sense of security as well as a stellar education. A week or two after we moved in I waltzed into the El Quixote. It was a bar-restaurant adjacent to the hotel, connected to the lobby by its own door, which made it feel like our bar, as it had been for decades. Dylan Thomas, Terry Southern, Eugene O’Neill and Thomas Wolfe were among those who had raised one too many a glass there.
I was wearing a long rayon navy dress with white polka dots and a straw hat, my East of Eden outfit. At the table to my left, Janis Joplin was holding court with her band. To my far right were Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, along with members of Country Joe and the Fish. At the last table facing the door was Jimi Hendrix, his head lowered, eating with his hat on, across from a blonde. There were musicians everywhere, sitting before tables laid with mounds of shrimp with green sauce, paella, pitchers of sangria, and bottles of tequila. I stood there amazed, yet I didn’t feel like an intruder. The Chelsea was my home and the El Quixote my bar. There were no security guards, no pervasive sense of privilege.'