Simply Reading: Just Kids

I always loved the ride to Coney Island.  Just the idea that you could go to the ocean via subway was so magical.  I was deeply absorbed in a biography of Crazy Horse when I snapped to the present and looked at Robert.  He was like a character in Brighton Rock in his forties-style hat, black net T-shirt, and huaraches.

We pulled into our stop.  I leapt to my feet, filled with the anticipation of a child, slipping my book back into the sack.  He took my hand.

Nothing was more wonderful to me than Coney Island with its gritty innocence.  It was our kind of place: the fading arcades, the peeling signs of bygone days, cotton candy and Kewpie dolls on a stick, dressed in feathers and glittering top hats.

We were just ourselves that day, without a care.  Only weeks before we had been at the bottom, but our blue star, as Robert called it, was rising.   Just Kids, by Patti Smith

There’s a wonderful innocence in this passage from Patti Smith’s memoir about her life and her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe.  It was the summer of 1969, and their world was hardly innocent – they lived in a New York hotel room, scraping for pennies and food to eat, while they pursued artistic dreams.  Mapplethorpe was rather tormented about the direction of his work and his sexuality, yet his relationship with Smith seemed to ground him.  The way they care for one another, stand beside one another, is heart warming.

I’m in the early stages of this book, and am completely captivated by the words of this artist-writer-rock star, the evolution of her life very reminiscent of the long train ride to Coney Island.

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5 thoughts on “Simply Reading: Just Kids

  1. Speaking of Crazy Horse, if any of your readers haven’t tried Sherman Alexie yet, I’m really enjoying a book of his collected interviews. He’s witty, funny, and profound.

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