I'm reading Patti Smith's M Train slowly, allowing her voice to flow through me. This is what happens when the writer has a distinct "voice" in their writing. I stop, and I want to "listen" to that voice in my head. I want the process to be comfortable, and allow it as much time as it needs. That's how I feel right now as I'm reading M Train.
My bias for travel makes me think of this book as travel writing. Yes, in this book, she writes about the various places she had been. She doesn't quite do the usual tourist destinations. There is a method to her journeys, and it is usually to follow the footsteps of a writer, or an artist. She took a photo of Frida Kahlo's bed, she took a photo of the chair Robert Bolano sat in. She traveled to laid stones on Jean Genet's grave.
I am reminded of how someone asked me last year, after my trip to Paris - Did you visit the Eiffel Tower? No, I did not. And there was a questioning look. Who goes to Paris and not go see the Eiffel Tower?
But why do I need to? Our journey is ours, and all we truly need to do, is to listen to the whispers in our hearts. To follow that voice that tells us where to go, and what to see. Who cares what is written in the guide books or tripadvisor? Your own yearning should be the true compass.
This is why I enjoy this series of Patti Smith's journeys. She is guided by her own yearnings, her own idiosyncrasies. There is not greater testimony to a life lived true to oneself.