Patti Smith Shares William S. Burroughs’ Advice for Writers and Artists

Would you take advice from William S Bur­roughs? What if it were fil­tered through the human­is­tic sen­si­bil­i­ties of Pat­ti Smith? Address­ing the crowd at last sum­mer’s Louisiana Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val at the Louisiana Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, the punk poet­ess shared some good coun­sel laid on her in her youth by the Beat­’s high­est priest. Build a good name, he told her, and make sure every­thing you cre­ate stays true to it, until even­tu­al­ly that name becomes its own cur­ren­cy.

It cer­tain­ly worked out well for her, though Smith is quick to give solace to those toil­ing in obscu­ri­ty.  It’s con­ceiv­able that one as relent­less­ly cre­ative as she would occa­sion­al­ly feel the sting of indif­fer­ence. It’s also wel­come when some­one in her posi­tion acknowl­edges how fan­tas­tic it is to have one’s work embraced by the peo­ple. (And she’s got a choice snarl for the knee jerks who equate pop­u­lar­i­ty with sell­ing out.)

An old soul from the out­set, the sea­soned Smith has teen spir­it to spare when it comes to the democ­ra­tiz­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of the Inter­net. It’s here, she pre­dicts, that those with the met­tle to keep at their cre­ative work will find the recog­ni­tion their good names deserve.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day does­n’t brush her hair much either. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Pat­ti Smith Read from Vir­ginia Woolf, and Hear the Only Sur­viv­ing Record­ing of Woolf’s Voice

Pat­ti Smith’s Cov­er of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spir­it” Strips the Song Down to its Heart

William S. Bur­roughs’ “The Thanks­giv­ing Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant

Charles Bukows­ki: Depres­sion and Three Days in Bed Can Restore Your Cre­ative Juices (NSFW)

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