Aimee Levitt: What I meant to ask you about is how you commemorate people when you’re not doing a show.
Patti Smith: Oh, daily. I mean I’ve lost so many people that I love. Robert Mapplethorpe was my best friend, I lost my young pianist, my brother, my husband, my parents, so many people in my life that I just find myself remembering them, sometimes writing about them, writing poems for them, saying prayers for them, or sometimes just talking with them.
I still consult my mother for guidance and my husband when I’m working on something like a visual project or a photograph and I have trouble. I often think of what Robert would say.
We can seek guidance from our departed, you know, as long as we listen. It’s a matter of listening. So, it’s not necessarily a dramatic thing or a sad thing, it’s just a part of my daily practice.
Sometimes in my travels I see a lot of churches. I really like to sit in churches, and if they have candles, I’ll light candles for everyone from my father to our ailing cat. It’s just integrated in my life. It’s not connected with any particular religion or anything, it’s just something that I do.
Levitt, Aimee. “Patti Smith discusses art, remembrance, and detective shows.” Chicago Reader. 27 Oct. 2014.