Patti, Robert, the Music and I

People doubt magic, as they doubt serendipity, miracles and spontaneity. Life surrounds us with reasons to doubt it, while it simultaneously blesses us with reasons to doubt our doubts.

However Patti, you have carried me away on the rainbow that is your memoirist skills, and your art form that is life. It makes me wonder if life itself is a fantasy that can be only seen through the wisdom of expression, and through a lens of humility. Patti, you have taught me the fantasy that can be life, that the story of friendship is just as important of the story of loss. That the loss that will come in my life is an inspiration, because when something is lost, not words nor a song can bring them back. But, memories bring them back through expression of their essences that still remain. Because death diminishes all the ugly in a person, and leaves only the beautiful.

Stylistically downplaying the significance of Just Kids as a writen accomplishment, You left me yearning for anything that was as meaningful as the moment he left you in Just Kids. The memoir’s end is all the more devastating given the scope of Smith’s, and my empathetic, loss. Not only Robert and all the magic he represented, but a whole era, a whole series of people who died from “drugs and misadventure” and from “the plague of a generation.” You, made me feel that there was “no sense of vindication as one of the handfuls of survivors.” You tell your story- Robert’s story as a literal and creative awakening but ended by emphasizing the sense of inadequacy and loss that you felt by being the survivor. “Why can’t I write something that would wake the dead?”

Your guilt for being the survivor touched me most in this book, because of your motif of inadequacy artistically to Robert. Throughout most of the beginning of the book you felt lost in your path in life without Robert in it. Not only because art was your lives together, but because he was once your lover. Lovers are competitive, do you think that added to your feelings? That you lost a lover  in life before you lost a friend in death?

You and Robert are a synergetic power that will exist throughout time in the punk, art, and written expressions that you leave with us. You lost Robert Mapplethorpe, but your words gave him life for us.

Thank you Patti, for giving me, and us, the Chelsea, your music, and your story and life with Robert. Thank you for Just Kids.

Taryn Frey 🙂


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