Julia Gets Wise with Patti Smith

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On this episode of Wiser Than Me, Julia connects with legendary 77-year-old musician, poet and author Patti Smith. Julia and Patti reflect on the importance of expressing gratitude daily, life-changing friendships, and saying goodbye to the people we love through art. Plus, Julia talks to her mom, Judy, about a misleading family truism that ends in a nice little nap.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Backend, Mommy, Patti Smith

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  00:00

So I made a friend back when my son Henry was in preschool. This wonderful woman named Beerget, like, go get the beer that used to make her laugh. She was originally from Austria, she had a fantastic accent. And this rockin body and blonde hair and a big genuine smile. And she had a way about her that when you were in her presence, it felt like anything was possible. And that, well, everything was going to be okay, which as you’ll see is a little ironic. As anyone who is a parent knows when your children are preschoolers and kindergarteners, you must accompany them on their playdates. I mean, I guess there’s some parents who don’t feel like that. But I always went on playdates with my kids when they were little, which meant that I had to make conversation with the other kids mom or dad for like three hours. And this could be and, frankly, generally was excruciating. I mean, like mind numbingly dull. And this was the truth for me until I met Beerget play dates with Beerget were spectacular. And there were a lot of play dates. Because our younger son Charlie was obsessed with Beergets younger son Ben, it was true love and he demanded play date after play date. And this was after our older children. Henry and Zoey had been preschool playdate pals too. So that’s dozens and dozens of playdates years of play dates, which was sublime for me, because after a playdate with Beer again, I always felt like I’d gotten a good break. Like I had traveled to some wonderful country, and all aspects of life were catapulted into proper perspective. She was completely comfortable in her own skin. She seemed to be right there, right where she was, do you know what I mean? Does that make sense she wasn’t looking to go anywhere, or in a hurry to accomplish some goal. That’s kind of the opposite of me, in a way. That’s actually totally the opposite of me. And I just love that about her. Our relationship was easy and almost immediately intimate and unspeakably delightful. We’d go on long hikes and have deep conversations about family philosophy and nature and spiritualism and sex and traveling, cooking and chocolate and, and of course, our children. So one day, we took this particular hike up in losely, Jonas Canyon here in Los Angeles, when all of a sudden our two youngest, Charlie and her Benny, disappeared. These two little three year old boys, they had been happily in tow. And now they were just gone. The two older kids beautiful Zoey, which is what Charlie called her, by the way, as if that was her name. And our Henry, they didn’t know where they’d gone. So of course, we called for them. And we yelled for them. We screened for them, actually. And they didn’t answer. And it got really scary, really quickly. It was it was dusk. And the older kids were freaking out. And we were freaking out. And this went on for, I don’t know, like 10 or 15, you know, even maybe 20 minutes, just a very, very long time too long. And we were just about to call the police when we heard giggling and these two little boys emerge onto the trail from behind a big rock. Because they’ve been playing hide and seek. But they forgot to tell us that they were playing hide and seek. And I had that terrible combination of profound relief and furious anger. And I grabbed my Charlie, and I gave him a swat on the butt, which is the one and only time ever did that, FYI. And then I looked over and I saw a beer get picked Benny up in a most loving embrace. And he wrapped himself around her just like a tiny little monkey. So of course, this makes me cry because Beerget as you’ve probably guessed, isn’t alive anymore. And as I say that I honestly I just cannot believe that that’s true. One time when I went to see her in the hospital, I went in and she was fighting just the most wicked disease. And she was wearing one of those awful green hospital gowns, but she somehow made it look chic for real. And she was sitting on the floor wearing these awesome clunky army boots and I remember thinking I gotta get one of those hospital cats. And she looks so cool and beautiful. And we talked about what we were going to do when she got, well, we were going to spend a whole month in Italy together, and we were going to go hiking and eating, and we were going to be laughing. And you know, she was just an extraordinary friend. Now Beerget wasn’t a politician, or an actress, or an executive type or whatever. She was just the best possible person. She had this open hearted, tender way of participating in life. And that’s the thing I was talking about, you know, she made you feel like anything was possible, which I know sounds crazy, but that’s what it was like with her, you know? Yeah, yeah. Let’s go to Italy and hike for a month and I’m going to learn how to sculpt why should I learn how to sculpt? Some people have the power to make us feel like that. Oftentimes, they’re artists, right? They make us look at the familiar in a brand new way things get clearer. After you’re with them, you find yourself saying to yourself, oh, I’m going to look at all the things I have on my bookshelf. And I’m going to, I’m going to think about what each little bit and Bob means to me. You know, you think, Wow, I never saw that before. And that’s Beerget. You know, she didn’t paint her saying, living living. That was her art. And now she’s gone, which is terribly sad. You know, it’s the flip side of her joy coin, because she gave us so much joy. Yeah, so you have to look for those people in the world. The anything is possible people, the people who make living life into an art and today, we’re talking to Patti Smith.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  06:59

Hi, I’m Julia Louie Dreyfus. And this is Wiser Than Me the podcast where I get schooled by women who are wiser than me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  07:33

Our guest today is how should I put this she’s one of the greatest figures in rock and roll history. But musician isn’t the right way to introduce her because she defies categorization, artists, poet, writer, President a punk, let’s just say worker because that’s how she has described herself. She was at the forefront of the 1970s New York punk rock scene, putting her words over the sounds of a great band for her smash debut album horses, which if you haven’t listened to it lately, go back and play it today. It’ll really surprise you because yeah, it’s fantastic punk, but it’s also so musical and so thoughtfully written and well played. With that record. She totally redefined what a female rock star could be inspiring that whole first wave of female punk artists and every wave since and then at the peak of rock and roll fame, she stepped away from the spotlight and moved to Detroit with her husband the lead guitars from MC five Fred Sonic Smith to raise a family together. 16 years later, she burst back into the music world and started performing again. She hasn’t missed a beat since she’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. She’s one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, but she’s also won the National Book Award for just kids. The memoir of her relationship with photographer and artist Robert maple Thor.


Backend  09:05

We froze. I think Robert visited us.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:11

I’m frozen? Fuck, God fucking dammit.


Backend  09:16

Hey, Patty. We’re here, we’re just figuring it out. We’ll be right there.


Patti Smith  09:20

I think it was the compliment gods they were saying I was getting too many compliments.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:26

Patty, how hilarious is this? I mean, I’m right in the middle of your big ol introduction and my Zoom freezes. Oh my god. Okay, I think everything’s fixed now. I’m so sorry about that. What, when did this happen? When did I freeze Patty?


Patti Smith  09:41

At Robert Mapplethorpe. You were saying Robert Robert Mapplethorpe and just said the word Maple Thorpe.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:47

Okay, fine. So I’ll start over there at that sentence. Take two. She’s also won the National Book Award for just kids the memoir of her relationship with photographer and artist. Robert Mapplethorpe, but even that book is hard to categorize because it’s so much more than a memoir. It’s a love story. It’s a poem. It doesn’t matter what the medium she just creates wildly with abandon and independence. If her pal Bob Dylan is the first poet of folk, she’s the first poet of punk. She’s collaborated with everybody from Lou Reed and John Cale to Bruce Springsteen, and she does the best cover of The Who’s my generation ever. And she’s still doing it all writing, touring and being Patti Smith, a woman who is so much wiser than me. Hi, Patti Smith.


Patti Smith  10:39

Hi, Julia, I’m not so sure I’m wiser but um.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  10:43

Oh, I know you are.


Patti Smith  10:44

But thank you very much. And yes, I do like to think of myself as a worker. That’s how I defined myself but also a mother. So that’s because they’re the two things that I do. Every single day. I just can’t escape either one of them happens. The idea of working and being, you know, there for my children who are quite grown.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  11:10

Yes, and I’m in the same category as you. I’m a worker, and I’m also a mother of two grown children, two young men who I call my boys. Hey, listen, are you comfortable? If I ask your your real age ?


Patti Smith  11:26

77, I never had a fake age. I don’t I’ve never claimed to be any age that I am. But I turned 77 On December 30.



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  11:37

And how well do you feel Patti?


Patti Smith  11:41

Well, my other age is about nine to 11, which is really the the way that I sort of M in my head. And, you know, really, I mean, I’ve always been sort of youthful. But as I get older, we have more challenges. Obviously, some of them are physical, all kinds of challenges. So I I do feel sort of in step with my age, but the other part of me, I’m always 9, 10, 11 with my dog on my bicycle. Yeah, my head.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:16

I sense it. I sense I mean, you are obviously a free spirit in heart and soul. I mean, that just pours out of you. That’s obvious. Are there any practices that hold particular significance for you now that you’re 77.


Patti Smith  12:31

I’m careful with my food, I eat healthy, you know, take walks, drink a lot of water, I make sure I do my work every day. I’m a bit of a sudden tree person. I’d like to sit and write and read and daydream. So I make myself take walks. But I my daily practices that I write every morning, do a little stretching and exercise that I stay, you know, in touch with my inner life as well as my outer life. I’m not a gym person. I’m not a yoga person. But I make, you know, I make up little, even if they’re pretend ballet, or pretend anything, I make sure that I’m always using my body and staying in contact with it, and stay in contact with my imagination.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:26

How do you stay in contact with your imagination? What is the practice to do? I mean, I think you’re just built that way. But is there something specific?


Patti Smith  13:35

Well, I tried to if you know, our world is so troubled, and yeah, there’s so much information, so many things to be concerned about. Whether it’s the environment or, or war, or whatever it is, that concerns us. And sometimes I can feel it permeating my consciousness more and more. So I try to burst through that and, you know, invent stories or read books or look at a piece of art and see where it takes me. Just keep challenging myself to think other thoughts. We have to be prudent, we have to be aware of our world, but we also have to have joy. And you know, so it’s, some people might call it imagination, some might call it sense of humor, whatever it is, that takes us, you know, gives us a sense of feeling our creative spirit.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:37

Yeah, it gives you a sense of hope. Right? Yes, yeah.


Patti Smith  14:40

We have to feel that every day, no matter how bad things are. We have to feel that and we’re both mothers. We feel hope not only for ourselves, but for our children. We wouldn’t want our kids to think we had no hope.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:54

Oh my god, right.


Patti Smith  14:55

What kind of message would that be sending them?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:58

Right? It’s funny because I saw that you said I don’t remember where I’ve I’ve gone down the Patti Smith rabbit hole for the last four, you know, lucky me, lucky me, please Lucky me. But you and at one point you were talking about what you stand for. And you stand for children. And that took my breath away. Patty that was so beautiful. And of course, it’s it’s pure and it’s, it is true, right? That’s what.


Patti Smith  15:25

Yes, slope for people get mad sometimes when you say things like that, if you say, I’m for peace, or I’m for love, but there’s a reason we say those things because they are the highest things that we can say. And you know, when people ask me, what side are you on? Or who do you stand for? What country what government? But I think that, as you said, I’m for children, I don’t care where the children come from, what they need, you know, who their parents are, what their religion is, I’m for children and taking care of them, making sure they’re safe, that they have food to eat there, that they have education, that they feel a sense of well, being that they feel love. You know, it’s actually not that much different than like Mother Teresa, you know, is I’m not comparing I’m saying her thought, you know, people say, well, why do you bother with these sick and dying children? Why do you bother? And she said, because every being should feel love. And that’s our responsibility. Sorry, I went on a little, it’s on my own. My own my own rabbit hole.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:37

Yeah, your own little private Patti Smith rabbit hole. But guess what, I love it. No, no, that’s the this is what I’m so interested in exploring with you. And I think if you talk about the the lens of looking at any of the issues today, which are plentiful, of course, unfortunately. And looking at these issues through the lens of children, I think there’s a kind of clarity that comes through as a result.


Patti Smith  17:04

Yes, absolutely.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:07

So another thing that struck me about you is that well, are you a superstitious person?


Patti Smith  17:14

I don’t think I’m classically superstitious, but I have a lot of quirks, like I think everything. You know, if I’m in this, I live alone, I mean, I spend a lot of time with my daughter and, and some friends, but I do live alone. And I sort of fall back into my 9, 10 nine year old habits, and that’s thanking everything. I’ll brush my teeth, and I thank my toothbrush, or I don’t know if I should be saying this. But if I have a really good poop, I thank my system. You know, I’ll thank the poop. I will think anything. Or if I’m eating, I’m not a vegetarian. So if I’m eating a fish, I first thanked the fish for its life or I’ll thank for vegetables for growing for me. You know, I just it’s an I don’t know if that falls in the realm of superstition, but it’s it’s some kind of thing that I I’ve done all my life. And as I get older, I do it more.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:21

Well, I think we should all take a page from that. I mean, it you’re really deeply expressing gratitude and.


Patti Smith  18:28

I’ll simplistic grant it’s like, but it’s like down to earth gratitude.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:34

Yeah, right. It’s down to earth.


Patti Smith  18:36

I’ll thank my socks for keeping my feet warm.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:41

What about talismans? What about objects? I know you’re not a materialistic person, but I know that you put value on certain objects.


Patti Smith  18:52

Oh, I mean, I can’t claim to be non materialistic because I have so many books. And I love all of my books. Certain of my books are like talismans. You know, my childhood books that I still have, I have like, my my most precious thing. Which I can’t wear anymore because my fingers changed is my wedding ring.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  19:16



Patti Smith  19:16

Which I always have, yeah, it’s just a plain little gold wedding. It’s just a classic little wedding ring. I always wear it, but I have like things usually things people give me like a monk and a sissy gave me a little St. Francis cross. It could be you know, I mean, I have a lot of Roberts things, I am very telematic but they they sort of shift. And when I when I travel, I always take a couple of things and put in a little bag, you know to be with me, but it could be something precious. But for instance, here’s one, it’s Roberts pen, encil sharpener.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:01

Oh cool.


Patti Smith  20:02

But it’s a brass pencil sharpener, and we used to use it. It was his, but we used it so many times when we were drawing. And so I just have it here. It’s a work tool, so, other things could be, you know, my father’s golf ball. You know, it could be anything so, well, I have my children’s baby teeth.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:23

Okay, that is incredible.


Patti Smith  20:25

You just said by was the tooth fairy? Yes.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:29

Guess what so was I, I have all of their teeth. And I often think what can I do with these little tiny, beautiful teeth? Put them on a necklace or something like that?


Patti Smith  20:40

Well, you can take them with you, I could take them with me. If I’m buried with anything with pockets, I want the teeth in the pockets.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:50

What a great idea. Oh, I’m gonna do that Patty. Cohen when I can’t get I’m going with the kids teeth.


Patti Smith  20:58



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:01

This is I wanted to show you a couple of talismans of mine. Because, first of all, this. I don’t know if you can sit here that Oh, that’s.


Patti Smith  21:10



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:11

That’s my beautiful wedding band, and


Patti Smith  21:16

We froze. Can you still hear me?


Backend  21:20

We hear you. We’re here. Okay, one second.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:24

Hi, Julia here. Okay. Let me explain what’s going on. Patti sees me frozen on her screen. But I don’t know it. And I just keep going about orange blossoms and bullshit. But now here is when I realized what’s happening. And orange, the smell of orange blossom? To me. Oh, no, not again. Oh my god. I’m here, can you hear me? Yes, what the fuck is happening with this situation?


Patti Smith  22:00

Don’t worry. No, it’s okay. I’m not pressed for time. Yeah, you’ll always have me. This is my favorite part actually.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:12

That’s so funny because I was telling you about my wedding ring. And then you didn’t say any thing. And I thought you were bored of my.


Patti Smith  22:18

No, no, because you froze, no, it’s beautiful.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:22

Oh, for fucksakes. Okay, so, here, I’m gonna show you now this is my. I mean, seriously, we’re gonna be here to midnight. But here, this is my wedding band. And you see it has orange blossoms. It’s antique, right?


Patti Smith  22:38

It’s beautiful.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:39

Thank you, I love it. And when I first went to California when I was 14 years old, I smelled orange blossoms for the first time. And I was so overcome. And it just, I can’t even really articulate how much that smell means to me. And then I met this boy from California. So to have a wedding band with orange blossom surrounded. I mean, the meaning is intense for me so talk about talismans.


Patti Smith  23:05

That’s so nice.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:06

Yeah, it’s so nice, right?


Patti Smith  23:07

No, that’s, I mean, really, it’s a talisman is so personal. It can be you know, a penny, you know? And, or it can be something extremely precious. You could have a Ruby in your pocket, but whatever it is, it’s one investment with a certain amount of, you know, significant amount of significance, magics poetry.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:34

Right, yeah, that’s nice. It’s time for a quick break. But don’t worry, there’s more with Patti Smith in just a bit.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  23:53

So you have that great story about being in your 20s. And somebody was thinking that you were a folk singer, like Joan Baez, because of your hair. So you were inspired to cut your hair. And it had this amazing effect. Because you cut your hair like Keith Richards sorta, and so, cause such a stir, which, I mean, on the one hand, I understand on the other hand, it’s kind of crazy. You know, it’s a haircut, right?


Patti Smith  24:22

Well, it was so funny. I mean, I just had long black hair. It was just really straight. I mean, I love Joan Baez.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  24:29

Me too.


Patti Smith  24:29

But I got tired of people just saying, are you focusing or because they weren’t saying in a nice way. They were more insulting me. And I was with sometimes Robert would take me to places because I was sort of a hick. You know, I came from South Jersey. I was sort of like a little socially inept. I had a strong sense of myself, but I didn’t really have a total grasp on our culture yet, but I got so sick of it, and I just thought, you know, screw them in I, I looked at pictures of Keith Richards and I just got my scissors and just cut it. And actually, it looked awesome.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:07

But I thought it looked great.


Patti Smith  25:08

Yes, and then I just went, we used to go to Max’s Kansas City at night. And this was 1970. And the same people that made fun of me all the time, or like, would like roll their eyes when Robert would bring me anywhere. Like they acted like, I mean, it was like, I just couldn’t believe all the attention I got. And they, all of a sudden, I became so cool. And I was like, instead of feeling gratitude, though, I thought, you know, all that for a haircut you know, it’s like, that’s all it takes is a haircut, I was the same person, of course, but, but I did like it. I did like my hair cut. And I think really in the end, because I was so boyish looking. I didn’t wear makeup and is very slim. And with this chopped up pair. You know, I had more probably have a androgynous look. And that people found appealing at that period, like 1970.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  26:11

Well, you created an iconic look for yourself, you know, almost without, by mistake, and I know what you mean about I mean, there’s a part of me that wants to say to those people, all the seven have an about face about you, as you sort of want to say go fuck yourself, but do you still identify with your hair? Do you still sad about big part of your I mean, your brain now.


Patti Smith  26:37

Fine, I let this point I just, you know, I’ve my, I just wear with my with sort of wear a uniform, what’s comfortable, I just braid my hair. Usually, it took me a long time to get used to having light colored hair. I mean, I had dark hair my whole life. I didn’t start going gray till I was in my late 50s 60 years old. And for a while light colored it or I put different highlights in it. And then I thought it just I just decided to just let it let it be itself. And I’m not so I have a definite style.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:18

For sure.


Patti Smith  27:18

And I’d like but I’m not. I had a very youthful appearance for a long time. And in the last couple of years, I can see my aging process. So I felt okay, as long as I do good work. As long as I can do good work and can be reasonably pleased with my appearance. That’s fine with me. I’m not so deeply connected with that anymore.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:45

By the way, speaking of your hair, I saw that on your mom’s birthday you trim your hair, right? Do you still do that? On your mother’s birthday?


Patti Smith  27:57

Actually, I haven’t done that in a long time you but you, I think it’s I trim my hair as it also is an act of independence. My mother cut my hair till I was like 14 years old, the worst hair cutter. I mean, she just take a pair of shears and shop and then put curlers in it and try to make it look better.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:18

Oh my god.


Patti Smith  28:19

My school pictures are some of the worse pictures of a child you could ever see.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:29

But I love the idea of at least for a period of time that you sort of honored your mom by cutting, trimming your hair on your on her birthday. What do you think your kids would do to honor you? What would they do? Do you think?


Patti Smith  28:41

Oh, I have no idea. But I honor my mother every day. I every time I drink a cup of coffee. I honor her, her and my father. They were big coffee drinkers. And every time I drink my coffee, they pass through my mind. I just I didn’t have always the greatest relationship with my mother. We had our problems. But the older I get, the more I admire her. And the more I would do anything just to have one more cup of coffee with her would just be just sit there and talk and you know, have a cup of coffee together.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:20

What did you learn from her as a mom that you sort of carried forward in your mothering?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:25

Yeah well, and you say thank you a lot, don’t you? I mean, yeah, it has. Yeah, but I mean, it’s related to your it has to be related to your mom, at least, based on what you’re telling me. I think it’s well.


Patti Smith  29:25

My mother worked as a waitress her whole life. She had four kids. My father worked a night shift. She worked as a waitress and they have a lot of economic strife. Yet she was able to keep a sense of optimism and creativity. She was completely open minded she had no prejudices. Her only rule when you came into our house was that you had to be respectful and kind to one another, I think, if anything, I just realized how hard she worked. Like, how did she do it? I raised kids, my husband, I raised our kids ourselves. I didn’t have a nanny, I didn’t have babysitters. I had two kids. But my mother had four. And she was working. And when I was doing laundry for us, I thought of all the laundry she had to do, she took in other people’s ironing, when I read about it, and she was so she never complained about it. She was always upbeat, you know, singing like songs from the 40s. And she was just happy that World War Two was over. You know, she, you know, she just had such a great spirit. And she always said the thing when if we complained, because we thought we were having difficulties, or I didn’t have nice shoes to wear something. And she always quoted, I don’t know where the quote comes. But she would say, I wept because I had no shoes. And then I saw a man who had no feet. And she said that again. But throughout our life, she would say that when ever we complained, you know, if we, you know, didn’t like our food, she would talk about the people who, but not in a cliche way, but a real, you know, a comprehension of the strife of others. But all of these things make me constantly think about other people, and I know I got that from my mother.


Patti Smith  31:44

Thanking my toothbrush, I think came from myself. Because of that one, my mother would say, Patricia, you’re going too far.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:51

Yeah, I was gonna say, well, that’s you taking it to the next level. But that’s okay. You put your own spin on it.


Patti Smith  31:59

Yeah, exactly.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  32:02

When you’d left home at a young age. And when you move to New York, and that whole extraordinary adventure journey began, did you ever reach back to your folks asking for advice, checking in, or were you very separate from them during that time.


Patti Smith  32:22

I was I’ve very close with my family. And I always kept in touch with them, even if I was sending them postcards from New York to New Jersey. But I didn’t tell them about any hardships or difficulties I was having. They had their own. And I just thought it was my duty to figure things out myself. I really came to New York to get a job. Because there wasn’t any work in South Jersey. And when I finally got a good job at a bookstore, and then I met Robert, I mean, like, life was magical, I mean, we had our problems, and we didn’t have much money, but it was, you know, very magical time for me because I was from the, you know, a very rural area. And without really, really anything cultural happening. There was a square dance hall across the street, but there really wasn’t, it wasn’t a cultural hub, you had to go to Philadelphia, or Camden, but um.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:26

I love that story of you going to Phil of your dad taking you to Philadelphia and you saw the Picasso’s art.


Patti Smith  33:31

Yeah, I saw art for the first time in person, yes. Especially the Picasso’s, but I, I loved it. I loved all the energy I love the people were walking on the streets at night, you know, I loved everything about it. So I was quite happy.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:49

Well, your parents worried about you, or did that where they call? Or they didn’t think about a tumor?


Patti Smith  33:53

Well, my mother always worried. You know, she was she would, she would worry about us all the time but they knew I was street smart. And then they were happy when I met Robert, because I had a companion. sure someone who could you know, look out for me? Although it’s pretty much the other way around, I think.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:12

Yes, so let’s talk about your gorgeous book, Just Kids. What a work of art, what a work of art. And I know that right before Robert died, you made the promise to him to write down your life, his life together. And that was in 1989. And then in 2010, you completed it, is that right?


Patti Smith  34:37



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:38

So can you talk about how that span of time and I know a lot happened obviously in that span of time, but the journey of finding a way to tell it and how did that happen? Patti, how did you find your voice?


Patti Smith  34:54

It was very difficult because I mostly wrote poetry story worries. I wondered write fiction, not nonfiction. But I had promised Robert and he asked me to write our story. And I knew what our story was I knew it backwards and forwards. But I wanted to present it in a way that would make him happy that he’d be proud of. But he Robert was not a reader. So I wanted to write something that would have a cinematic feel so that readers would like that it would be poetic enough that readers would be fulfilled, but also non readers could also enjoy a sort of almost like a movie. But it took me a long time, because I had never done anything like that. And I, I wanted it to be good or, or not at all. And it’s and then so many things happened as a loss of my husband and my brother and, and taking care of my children and having to reenter, you know, public life in order to make a living. And the book kept being shelved, but I sometimes could hear Robert, going Paddy, where’s our book? And, and I had a very good editor, and her and I just plowed through it. And I went through to publishers like that drop from double day, because it took me so long, and another publisher took it. I had one crisis after another, sometimes I would go in a year without working on it. And I wrote so many outlines, and I wanted to get everything correct. I wanted people to have a sense of New York City. What it was like in the late 60s and early 70s. And I also wanted to represent everyone in the book well, even people I didn’t like I because I didn’t want the book to be a way to speak ill of people, I wanted to put them in cultural context. So I had to make certain that everything was as accurate as possible. I did have a lot of diaries, which were really helpful.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:20

That was my question, because there’s a lot of detail a lot, right?


Patti Smith  37:24

Well, I had these my mother used to every year for my birthday. Get me these little diaries where you know, you it only gives you a half a page per date. And so I found a couple of them. A lot of them got lost, but I found pivotal years at the Chelsea where every day, it would say, cut Roberts hair like a rockabilly store, cut my hair like to Keith Richards met Janis Joplin. It wouldn’t tell anything about her. We just met Janis Joplin. And I would say, are you serious? That’s all you wrote a full moon when my period was due, but I saw I had a daily, almost a daily picture of our everyday life. And I was really able, I have a very good memory for things like that. So I was able to reconstruct that period of time and through the music we were listening to, and, and the work that we both did, I was having a lot of difficulty finishing it. And I had some work to do in France and Johnny Depp and Vanessa parody had a complex in the south of France, and they had a little chapel that he had renovated. And they let me stay there and finish the book. And Johnny, Johnny was very encouraging. He would tap on the door, and then I’d open the door and there be a little tray of food, times. A little glass of very good wine or something but yes, and never bothered me. And that’s where I finished the book. And I’ll never forget I when he was done the book, he knocked on my door and I opened like he stayed up like all night long or whatever. And I said to hell is it and he goes it’s a fucking masterpiece. And I went oh my gosh, that was my first review and that froze oh my gosh, poor us.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:37

Frozen zoom again. Oh my god, can you believe this? This was driving me crazy. But nothing fazes Patti Smith honestly, nothing oh, thank god Have you talked to all right, all right, we’re back. God dammit. What the fuck are we just talking?


Patti Smith  40:00

We were.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:03

Who knows?


Patti Smith  40:04

Oh, I was telling you. I was about Johnny, I was telling you about. Johnny was my first reader.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:11

Yes, which is a huge responsibility. But obviously, he was up to the task.


Patti Smith  40:18

He was very encouraging. He sent me on my way.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:23

You know, there’s something. Speaking of encouraging artists there. There’s something about being in proximity to other artists and thinkers, and, and so on, that you were in the midst of when you were living at the Chelsea Hotel. And of course, those early days in New York. Can you talk explicitly about the value of being close to people who challenge you and really lift you up?


Patti Smith  40:48

I mean, I don’t know if I can do it justice but I was very fortunate because when I was at the Chelsea I mean, I was there privy to the minds and the advice of people like William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Bobby Neuwirth, I met a lot of musicians. Janis Joplin, of course, and but a lot of different people that came in and out of the Chelsea, we were all living there. So even though I was a girl working in a bookstore, I just living in the same places, as they were for a week or two, it was my home, I truthfully, to this day, don’t know why these people what they saw in me and why they gave me so much of their time. But they did. I didn’t take drugs at the time. And I mean, I’ve never really taken drugs, smoked some pot, but even then I wasn’t smoking pot, I had a lot of clarity. I was a responsible person, but I was, you know, a fledgling artist, and they a lot of people took me under their wing. And like William Burroughs, he would sit and talk to me and talk to me about my imagination, or shamanistic powers. But also, he would tell me what kind of advice he would give me, for instance, keep your name clean. If you get you know, if you have to make big decisions, especially about your work, one might be more lucrative, more exciting. But you have to make the decision that you can live with for the rest of your life, and to do your best to keep your name clean. And I don’t know, you know, really what to say, except, I was so lucky. And I had my own sense of myself. And I was a bit arrogant. But I wasn’t so arrogant that I failed to recognize that these people had a lot to teach me. And it was, as I think I said in the book, but I it’s the best way I can say it. It was my university.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:08

I mean, it’s that you got your masters, your PhD. You got the real right.


Patti Smith  43:13

And a couple of doctorates.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:15

Yeah, exactly. And a couple of doctors, I was very, I love this from the the book when you talk about this exchange that you had with Sam Shepard, who was also another very close friend of yours. And he said, you can’t make a mistake when you improvise. And you said, what if I screw up the rhythm and he said, you can’t it’s like drumming. If you miss a beat, you create another. And you wrote in this simple exchange, Sam taught me the secret of improvisation one that I’ve accessed my whole life, that is so beautiful. And I, I believe that. Totally it it certainly applies to my own life with improvisation.


Patti Smith  43:55

In in our practical life, everything that we do on stage, I make so many mistakes on stage or forget lyrics or all kinds of disasters, and I just take them in stride. You can’t make a mistake, you just create a new beat. And also if you’re performing, if you stay in touch with the people, you can do anything. You could you can tell them. I’m having a weird moment here.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:23

Yeah, right.


Patti Smith  44:24

And people go, it’s okay, Patti. It’s okay. They’ll wait for you. They’ll send you energy. As long as you take it in and give it back to them. You can transfigure anything. It’s just, it’s the transformation of waste. You can you can take something and create a new thing.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:43

We’ll get more wisdom from Patti Smith after this super quick break. Stay tuned.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  45:00

Will you talk about the decision to leave New York? And go to Detroit? With your beloved Fred? And what about the shit you got for that?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  45:15

That oh my god.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  45:17

What the hell?


Patti Smith  45:18

Oh my gosh. You know, I didn’t really think when I left, people would, it would be any big deal. I wasn’t like, Bob Dylan. I wasn’t Metallica, it wasn’t the Grateful Dead. I don’t, you know, it was I was just doing my part. And that’s how I thought, you know, when I did my first record, I just wanted to lay some groundwork for future generations, I thought rock and roll was getting, you know, too glamorous, you know, too. I thought it was getting too commercial. I was just trying to bring it down to, you know, strip it down to three chords and poetry. And then I was going to be on my way. So I wound up doing four records. But I never planned to be like a rock star. I don’t really have I’m not a great singer. I had no training, no musical training. I said what I had to say. And then I felt as I was performing, somewhat redundant. And I also felt, because in Europe, I was very popular. I thought the direction I’m going is possible fame and fortune. But I wasn’t growing. I was becoming agitated, somewhat demanding, stressed, I wasn’t writing, I felt that I wasn’t evolving as a human being. But at the same time, I had really, after having some very interesting, beautiful relationships with other fellas, I found the person that I really loved, and wanted to spend my life with. And I didn’t like being parted with him. And we decided, you know, he had been, you know, rock and roll star from a young age, to leave mutually leave the music business, and live a quiet life and see where that took us. And so it was just time. It was time to see what I was made of, and it wasn’t easy. But I’ve never once had any regret about it. I never regretted a thing. I’d loved my husband. And I, I went into that life willingly. And it required a certain amount of sacrifice. But one thing I learned is, sacrifice isn’t bad. It’s only bad. If you resent the sacrifices you’re making, which I didn’t. And how sad having.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  47:59

having kids how soon after you made that move? Did you start having your babies?


Patti Smith  48:05

Well, I made the move in 79. And I had my son in 82, and my daughter in 87. And I was also getting older, I was 41 when I had my daughter, so those years, because I had to, you know, have new disciplines and I had to work with how much time I had to myself became the years where I really became a writer. And in my whole life, that’s what I wanted more than anything. It was of all my disciplines. Being a writer is the thing I’m most proud of, in the most in terms of myself. And I had to find my niche to write wake up at five in the morning when the kids kids were sleeping work from five to eight, then they got up, got them ready for school. And then whatever rhythm my husband and I were in, but I found a way to to develop my work and to study and it was you know, if people found it appalling that I did that, but I grew. I grew as a writer, but grew as a human being.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  49:24

I find it appalling that people found it appalling.


Patti Smith  49:28

You know how appalling when we my husband and I did a record dream of life together? And it got Tara it was really they really just skewered it. And there was a picture of me in the Village Voice with my hair and braids because I had my hair and braids on the album cover with cow udders. Basically, you know saying that I I mean basically they were this is a newspaper that used to put me on the cover. Now I had turned into like a female cow. No, because I had.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:08

Oh my god.


Patti Smith  50:10

So it was very. And also I would, after my husband died, and I came back into public life, because I needed work. And still, to this day, people will say to me, well, in the 80s, you didn’t do anything. And I said, in the 80s, I had two children till, you know, yeah, washed a million diapers, I planted trees I, I, I wrote every day, I evolved as a human being, I had spent a certain amount of time it was, you know, only a certain amount of time. But I spent all that time with the love of my life. How can you say that? I did nothing in the 80s.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  50:55

Wow, I mean, I really think that this is what you’re describing is the the Unfortunate Plight of being a woman, because you’re like, fucking damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, right. Or you could argue that the 80s, and this period of time, where in which you develop this discipline to get up before the kids and do your writing, and then raise to human beings, with the love of your life might have been your most fruitful and productive time of your life so.


Patti Smith  51:30

I think it’s also Julia, I’m sorry, I think that part of it is also this idea of like, of media? And people’s headspace where if you aren’t in the public guy, you don’t exist. If you’re an artist, if you aren’t in the public guy, they say I did nothing because it wasn’t reported. You know, they think that because I wasn’t in the media that I didn’t exist, or what I did, right didn’t matter, and my, you know, I have pride in what I accomplished in those years as well, you should write. I’m not a very good homemaker. I’m not very good at domestic tests. But I was proud that I was able to do my best to do whatever I could to be the best mother I knew how to bake. And that’s, that’s its own worth that has its own.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:33

That’s, that’s not small potatoes, that’s not small.


Patti Smith  52:36

That’s not nothing.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  52:38

Yeah, that’s not nothing. I mean, I would argue that’s the most important. I mean, at the end of the day, I would want to be the best mother, I could be over anything else, you know, you’re such a fanciful, and you’re such an imaginative person. Were you able to meet your children in that place? And that place of pretend? I would think that that was something that would be a good meeting ground for you guys?


Patti Smith  53:05

Yeah, yes, we did. And then what I learned with my siblings, because I, I was the oldest. So I designed a lot of our play. And that’s a territory I know, well, but I also know, that part of the territory when you have to let them go, and have their imagine of plays with their friends and with each other, you know, I have a beautiful relationship with my kids. They lost their father very young, they were six and 12. And I’ve been their parent. And I’m really happy with the communication that the three of us have. And, you know, they’re both creative. They’re musicians. They’re good, solid people. And I’m very happy with them.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  53:59

Yeah, my kids are both creative, too. And I have to say that it gives me enormous joy to see them.


Patti Smith  54:09

Were frozen.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:11

Hi, it’s me again. Are you believing all these technical problems? I just keep freezing on the Zoom. This really, honestly doesn’t happen to us usually. And I felt so bad for Patti, but she took it completely in stride.


Patti Smith  54:26

Okay, I’m just gonna go to the bathroom.


Backend  54:29

Feel free to take long time. That is going in the bathroom. No, she is, I’m good, food. I’ll get this figured out. You’re doing great. So sorry, it’s just Julian’s gonna run to the bathroom too, okay.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:45

Okay, I’m back, hi, Patti.


Patti Smith  54:47



Julia Louis-Dreyfus  54:49

All right, so what was I gonna say? I was gonna I was gonna say, how did you? How did you help your children navigate the grief of losing their Dad? I mean, that’s a huge question. I realize, but if you can speak to it, or is it just too much?


Patti Smith  55:06

Well, I can’t answer it for them, I can only say that we kept him with us daily. And we still do, and my brother died a month later. So we had to their favorite uncle, who was only 42. And my husband was 45. So we had the loss of both of them to navigate. And I think a lot of it was just keeping them present. Just keeping them present. And just continuing. Lon, I’m a worker so I worked. I tried my best to keep some seamless, some things certain things seamless. But it was it’s actually such a difficult thing to talk about.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  55:58

Yeah, I understand.


Patti Smith  55:59

I can only say, it’s easier to simply say. And I think it’s, it’s a good thing to do with all the people that we love, we go through a certain period that is almost mystically terrible. And then when we reenter life, we just, we just make him part of everything.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:23



Patti Smith  56:24

We talk about him, not always like, you know, like he’s the saint. Some funny stories, or sad stories are, we wonder help, what he would think of? What would he think of social media? What would he think of lack of privacy? What would he, you know, think of, you know, Metallica having, you know, 1.4 million people in a concert, and in Russia, what we think of political change, but we just make them part of our conversation.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  56:59

Yeah, I mean, I think that I lost my sister and my dad in a very short period of time. And I, I agree with keeping them a part of you. It’s like your relationship with them changes. You still have a relationship, right? But it, it just, it’s a new way of being with them.


Patti Smith  57:21

Yes, absolutely.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  57:24

I remember that you were talking about when you and your sister were with your brother after he had passed your with his body, and you were started to laugh hysterically. And I have to tell you something. It was an uncanny reading that because the exact same thing happened to me with my sister, I was with my other sister. And we were with my, my deceased sister’s body and it we became hysterical laughing. Isn’t that strange that we both have that same reaction, in a way?


Patti Smith  58:01

Well, I think a lot of that comes from closeness and trust. I mean, I cherished that, that we did that, because my, my brother, Toddy Linden and I laughed so much as siblings. And sometimes if we got started, we’d like laugh ourselves sick. Oh, you know that feeling? You can’t stop can’t stop. And my brother especially was the big laughter among us. And the fact that my sister and I were able still to laugh like that without him. Physically, I mean, with with him pass. You know, he was he couldn’t laugh with us physically. But the fact that we could still do it. Even without him, which made us both feel like he was within us, and that we hadn’t lost that ability. And I think that that’s a wonderful thing. I found it such a such a joyful expression of our mutual love for him.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  59:05

Oh, yes, without question. I think it’s positively beautiful. I also I wanted to tell you that my dad who passed away in 2016, and he was a businessman, but he was also a poet and himself, and his stuff was published and he was actually the head of the Poetry Society of the east or whatever it’s called, I don’t know, anyway. And he wrote a poem that we actually put on his tombstone. And I thought you might be interested to hear it. May I read it too?


Patti Smith  59:40

Yes, yes, yes.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  59:42

It’s called explanation. And it goes like this. God must mean for us to reason that the flower first in bloom, taught and shining is not altered, even in its dying season. God’s the present ever missing till we meet it when we die. Life’s the ambush of tomorrow and the sorrow of goodbye.


Patti Smith  1:00:15

Well, that’s beautiful. The ambush of tomorrow. Is that the line ambush?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:00:21

Life’s the ambush of tomorrow.


Patti Smith  1:00:24

Life’s, what a line ambush to use. I mean, I’m sorry to pick apart. It’s so beautiful, but to use the word ambush within that poem. That’s, that’s a real poet. I mean, that’s someone who really understands and can turn words in his will. It’s like kick out the play of the word and turn that it’s beautiful.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:00:49

I’m happy to send you his guess when when he right when he died, he left. He had never published a book of poems. He’d only had poems published specific poems. And he put together a book of poetry that he entitled letters written but not sent. And it was for me and my sisters. And yeah, my mom and my and my stepmom. Anyway, it was very, very meaningful. I thought you’d be interested in that since you’re such a poet yourself. And I was going to ask if you if you wouldn’t mind, either saying or singing the memorial song that you? Because it’s oh, beautiful. That oh, sang for [….] Only if you want to if you don’t want to, though.


Patti Smith  1:01:40

No, I can I, you know, that little song. When Robert died, I knew that I had to speak at his memorial. And my husband drove us to self care up North Carolina. We used to get like a little place and sit on the beach because I love the sea. And I walked up and down and up and down that beach, trying to think of what to say. And this little song came into my head. I’ve never recorded it or anything. I just really wrote it for Robert. So it’s called Memorial song. And what I’ll do is okay, I just need to get my other classes.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:02:27

Okay, sorry. No worries. Okay, so I have to stop again for just a second. Remember a few minutes ago, when Patti said that she would take mistakes and transfigure them? Well, as you’ve heard, the internet has been freezing like crazy during our whole conversation, and it’s about to freeze again, right in the middle of Patti’s beautiful song. But this is Patti Smith, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s kind of great. Patti, transfigured the moment. So right when Patti starts, I freeze on the Zoom. I can still hear her perfectly, but she’s looking at me just frozen on her screen, and she just keeps going and well. Anyway, just listen to what happens.


Patti Smith  1:03:10

I haven’t looked at it for a long time. But I’m going to sing it to you okay. Because it was written as a song. So Robert had green eyes with very green eyes. And my dream was always we didn’t have any money when we were young, but my dream was to someday buy him a beautiful emerald ring because he loved which I never did. But I wrote him this song instead. Little lamb rule bird wants to fly away. If I cut my hand, could I make him stay? Little emerald soul, little emerald I. Little emerald soul, must you say good bye. All the things that we pursue all that we dream are composed as nature new in a feather green. Little emerald bird as you light a far it is true I heard. God is where you are. Little emerald soul, little emerald eye, little emerald bird, we must say, good bye.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:05:13

That was so beautiful.


Patti Smith  1:05:15

Oh my gosh, I looked in your eyes at the, I don’t know if you could tell.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:05:19

Oh Patti, I could hear you. But I was frozen on Zoom. And he just kept going.


Patti Smith  1:05:24

I look straight in your eyes at the end and really saw all of you what a beautiful person you are, Billy.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:05:33

I think you are the most beautiful person. This has been an honor for me totally and completely to talk to you today and be with you. And God knows we glean tons of wisdom from this conversation.


Patti Smith  1:05:47

And my favorite thing is you and your sister laughing just like my sister and I did. Because that that is that was mystically beautiful.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:05:59

Yeah. mystically beautiful. Patti Smith, thank you so much for being with us today.


Patti Smith  1:06:05

Thank you, Julie. I won’t forget that last look I had of your face.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:06:11

No, don’t forget it. Blaze in my frozen zoom face in your brain. And many thanks for your patience. Oh my god. I’m very grateful to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:06:27

What an incredibly patient, kind and wise woman that Patti Smith is wow. She really kept me calm during those dropouts. Okay, I gotta get my mom on Zoom. So I can tell her about it. But don’t freeze with her.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:06:45

Hi, Mommy.


Mommy  1:06:46

Oh, Hi, honey.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:06:47

Hi, okay, so I’m gonna hope that the Zoom doesn’t go out while I’m talking to you because we had enormous technical difficulties while working with Patti but because she’s so kind. We were able to get through it.


Mommy  1:07:01

Well, welcome to my world. works is it’s a miracle. So I’ve just turned on the computer with a sinking heart.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:07:13

Mommy, she was talking about her mother, something her mother always used to say to her. Whenever they would complain. Her mom used to say, I cried because I had no shoes. And then I saw a man who had no feet. Did you not used to say that to us? Have isn’t that an expression that you’ve said? Or am I crazy?


Mommy  1:07:34

Well, it not exactly. You know what my mother used to say was was well, when you get something everybody else in the family can’t.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:07:48

Way really good to go shopping.


Mommy  1:07:55

Well, she was my girl. She was one of the girls. And you know, grandma made all her clothes. And so they.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:08:06

Oh my god, that is honestly that is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.


Mommy  1:08:12

But well, it’s funny, but it didn’t make me.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:08:16

No, I’m sorry, Mommy, that’s an awful thing she said. Well, anyway, she was saying it affectionately talking about her mother. And we’re talking about grief and loss because she’s had as most people her age have, but she there was a period of time in her life where she lost her husband, her brother, and her best friend Robert Mapplethorpe, all within a very short period of time. And I actually remember that you are the one who talked to me. Once when I think I had a friend whose mother had died. And you were telling me about talking about how losing a person and it’s not like the relationship ends. It’s a new way of, of being with that person. It’s a new relationship.


Mommy  1:09:11

When when my mother died, there was a neighbor, that will wonderful woman that was an older woman. And she lived a couple blocks down from us. And she always walked by with her dog. And I talked to her, and she was about the age of my mother was. And so then she knew that my mother died. She wrote me a note. And she said to that she has noted that when she loses people that they’re very much with her, that they that they still that she said the relationship changes, but it’s very much you’re very much alive within you. And the one that told I’ve saved that letter or is because it was something that nobody had ever said to me because I think in my family sort of discussion was stricken about grief. And we were to a funeral Yesterday of somebody that that both Dad and I loved so much, and was at the funeral that I felt his presence so much. And I felt the joy that he had in being with us. And we hadn’t been with him. It was just something that you felt. And when they were they’re playing one of the hymns, which was not a him that that had any relation to any any conjunction, joining before. But I suddenly felt that joy that I would feel being with him. So there it was, I mean, he was he was sort of with us.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:10:33

Yeah, that’s a nice thing, that’s comforting, isn’t it?


Mommy  1:10:38

Very comforting.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:10:39

I actually recited daddy wills poem explanation that we put on his tombstone. Which I think you’re familiar with and, and then she was kind enough to sing the song slash poem that she wrote for Robert Mapplethorpe when he died. And she sang it at his funeral and she sang it up for us, acapella it’s called Memorial song. It’s beautiful. So it was it was quite the experience to talk to her. She’s She is, there’s nobody like her. I really enjoyed along with her.


Mommy  1:11:22

She seems to be from another, another place altogether. Because in just kids was our read of hers, or actually listen to her read it, which is wonderful experience. But she the fact that she knew that she was an artist, but that she didn’t know of what.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:11:41

I know.


Mommy  1:11:42

It’s almost like you’re you’re born before you’re I mean, you can you can be dance before you can walk. I mean, how did she know that? There’s something spiritual about that.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:11:52

Yes, and in the book, she talks about going to the Philadelphia Art Museum, where you and I had been, of course, and seeing the Picasso’s, and it was like this. She was thunderstruck. Like, this is me, this is what I need to be doing.


Mommy  1:12:07

But she is, it was remarkable, when you said that you were going to be with her. I was thinking to myself, that she there very few people like Patti Smith in the world.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:12:17

Yeah, she’s the one and only. Yeah, question. So are you too, Mama.


Mommy  1:12:23

Oh, thank you, well, you’re you’re one of many. No, listen, are you? There ain’t nobody but you this joy. Yeah, that’s for sure.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:12:39

All right, love you, mommy. I’m going to say goodbye now. And go lie down.


Mommy  1:12:46

You’re gonna lie down. You want me to lie down?


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:12:48

I gotta lie down, you can lie down if you want, but I gotta lie down. We had so many technical difficulties


Mommy  1:12:52

I have to, I’m so sorry. But I’m starving. I’m gonna go have dinner.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1:12:56

Okay, go have dinner. I love you tons.


Mommy  1:12:58

I love you. Okay, bye


CREDITS 1:13:11

There’s more Wiser Than Me with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content from each episode of the show. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Make sure you’re following Wiser Than Me on social media. We’re on Instagram and Tiktok at @WiserThanMe, and we’re on Facebook at Wiser Than Me podcast. Wiser Than Me is a production of Lemonada Media. Created and hosted by me Julia Louie Dreyfus. This show is produced by Kryssy Pease, Jamela Zarha Williams, Alex McOwen, and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall is a consulting producer, Rachel Neil is VP of new content and our SVP of weekly content and production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Paula Kaplan, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me. The show is mixed by Johnny Vince Evans with engineering help from James Sparber. And our music was written by Henry Hall, who you can also find on Spotify or wherever you listen to your music. Special thanks to Will Schlegel, and of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow Wiser Than Me wherever you get your podcasts. And if there’s a wise old lady in your life, listen up.

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