W. o’ W.: Patti Smith


“A person can’t really try to be an artist. I think that it’s a calling. What you can try to do is become better at your craft, to become more disciplined and, by practice, become a better draftsman, but I think people are artists or not. I think that if you’re an artist—well, whatever your vocation is, it doesn’t have to be an artist, if we’re really called towards something, it could be towards being a chef or a doctor or a parent or poet—you cannot not do it. You’re compelled every day to do it. And that seems to be what your vocation is, a vocation sometimes that chooses you before you choose it. But we were disciplined in that we worked every day. We didn’t have disciplined hours. But when I got married and when I had children, I had to become much more disciplined, and I learned to write early in the morning when my husband and children were sleeping so I could have time to myself. I would wake up around five in the morning and work until about eight in the morning. I did that for so many years, about 16 years, and I found that I’m now very comfortable writing early in the morning.”