I know I never shut up about Just Kids, but it is a really amazing book, and it has made a difference in my life. Linda recently read it, and our discussions have reminded me of so many important themes. Like the dynamics of real friendship. The importance of supporting your friends. Living with almost nothing and sacrificing comfort to pursue your interests. And, maybe more than anything, the idea that if you want to be an artist, you just have to start creating art.
I think that’s what’s so interesting about Robert and Patti. He later became famous as a photographer, but he started out as a visual artist, and even in that, had very little training. Patti is perhaps most well known for music, but as a child, she mostly just read a lot, and later she was occupied with drawing and writing poetry.
It’s the most obvious thing, but at a certain point, he just started taking pictures (because Patti encouraged him to) and she just started creating music (which Robert supported). The first time I read the book, I thought, “Oh, so you just start doing stuff then?” You don’t have to be a child prodigy or dedicate your whole life to something or necessarily have the education or wait for permission. You can just start creating.
Not that you will necessarily get anywhere with your art. Robert and Patti didn’t for a long time either. But I think, reading the book, as much as you recognize their talent, you get the idea that they were just people dedicated to creating. So they did.