It’s surprising, even to me, that I’ve spent 50 years (so far) on this planet and somehow missed Patti Smith fandom entirely. Until recently, in fact, I’ve known her only as the “Because the Night” singer and as someone frequently mentioned in the same sentence with “poet” and “punk.”
I’ve been think a lot recently about the idea of safety. Specifically how powerful it is to turn to someone and say, “You make me feel safe.” To trust them fully. And at the same time how important it is to learn to how to make my own kind of safety. A deep breath. A lit candle. A good meal.
They brought me the sort of joy I hadn’t felt in a while, and it caught me off guard. It seemed like a gift. Yes, I understand it to be a chance encounter that had nothing to do with me, but I came away from it feeling more dreamy than I had in months.
It was a comfort to hear familiar voices during the open mic sets: I knew who was going to rhyme, who was going to be humorous, who was going to be tender. They did not disappoint.
Do this, this act of creating, fully and passionately. Find the raw edges. And please — please! — point us to them. I may be biased, but poets (and writers and other artists) are some of the best guides we have.
Think about all that wants to remain hidden. Think of the reasons people insist on silence. I love all of you who refuse to be complicit with it. I love you who sweat it out to tell your stories, whether they feel small and personal or large and political, whether they feel like entertainment or literature or information or activism.
Will you help me celebrate the New Year by sharing with me your favorite toasts, wishes, blessings and prayers? Fill the comments with love and warmth and gratitude. And yes, of course, humor and hijinks welcome.