I've had a surprising source of inspiration this past week, in the name of Patti Smith one of the great iconic female rock voices from the 1970s.
But honestly, I really didn't know anything about Patti two weeks ago when I stopped in at my local thrift store on my usual mission for styling props and books. After having no luck with the plates & bowls, I rummaged through the small selection of english books tucked in the back corner of the shop. I was about to conclude defeat when I noticed a book sitting on top of the others on the bottom shelf.
I pulled out Just Kids.
I'd heard of this book a few years back when a friend had read it, so I flipped over the cover and took a closer look.
"It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion and initiation... "
Sold. Off I went to warm up a bowl of soup and get into my latest lucky find.
There are so many reasons why Patti's memoir (which I haven't quite finished yet) has been having such an inspirational impact on me. Set in New York City in the late 60s and early 70s. It's a story of pursuing passion and surviving if only to create art, in the times of Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol. It's a story far, far away from the curated lives and insta-famous stories of Facebook and Instagram. It is gritty and rough and real. And it is about dedication.
Through Patti's stories there are two themes that have really stood out to me, and I would like to share them with you.
#1: Your creative growth, inspiration and ultimately your success, are largely dependent on the people you surround yourself with.
Although Patti arrived in New York City with literally no money and spent the majority of her first summer sleeping on doorsteps and in Central Park, she was slowly building relationships and eventually with very influential people who helped to shape her and lead her on her way. She placed herself amongst the action at the Chelsea Hotel with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Along with Robert, her comrade and partner on the wild journey, she was constantly surrounded by inspiring souls. To me it felt that she would rarely have had to feel completely alone in the struggle.
"Gregory Corse, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs were all my teachers, each one passing through the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, my new university."
So go out there and find your teachers, your mentors and the friends that are on a similar journey. These days this certainly exists on social media which is a wonderful way to connect with people you can grow with from all over the world. But in my opinion, this doesn't even come close to replacing the value of relationships with other live humans in real life.
So if someone inspires you, ask them to coffee. I do this whenever I come across someone, usually on Instagram these days, in my area who seems to be doing some cool stuff. It is always the best experience, as I come away feeling completely refreshed by the possibilities and often with a new friend. And yes, it has happened that I've sent off a coffee invite with no response. Don't worry about that. Just look for that next person who lights you up a little and reach out.
#2: Keep doing the work and trusting you are on the right path.
"In my low periods, I wondered what was the point of creating art... I craved honesty, yet found dishonesty in myself. Why commit to art? It seemed indulgent to add to the glut unless one offered illumination. Robert had little patience with these introspective bouts of mine. He never seemed to question his artistic drives, and by his example, I understood that what matters is the work: the string of words propelled by God becoming a poem, the weave of colour and graphite scrawled upon the sheet that magnifies His motion. To achieve within the work, a perfect balance of faith and execution. From this state of mind comes a light, life-charged."
As I've been developing my blog, photography, recipes, etc I've often found myself thinking: 'what's the point of creating all of this unless I have something really different and important to say?' It's pretty hard to keep motivated with that mind-frame. Especially when you're so new at something, it seems hard to imagine that you could ever offer something of value that hasn't been done a million times over. But, the thing is, you can't even imagine yet where the journey will take you. Where you end up will most definitely be so different than where you started. And slowly, if you keep at it, the act of creating will become a force of it's own. So keep writing, photographing, cooking, painting, drawing, brewing beers etc. Through this you will keep learning, growing and having a reason to connect & share with others.
Not to mention, you could end up doing something really, really awesome. What's the point of missing out on that?
"I was too curious about the future to look back." - Patti Smith (and my thoughts exactly)
As always, thank you so much for reading. Keep on scrolling for my latest recipe, Minestrone Soup with Crispy Brussels Sprouts.
Please feel free to share this if you enjoyed it! And don't forget, you can search #gloriousonabudget on Instagram for my budget friendly recipes or meal ideas, and use the hashtag to share your creations. You'll find the full recipes here in my blog and in the recipes section of my website.
MINESTRONE SOUP WITH CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
A delicious hearty soup sure to keep you cozy on a winter's night. Topped with garlicky crispy brussels sprouts that are packed full of fibre to support a healthy digestive system and tons of vitamin C to keep your immune system strong. For extra flavour add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread!
serves 4 - 6
150g dried fusilli pasta noodles
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
400g brussels sprouts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried thyme
800g canned diced tomatoes
1L vegetable stock
400g canned red kidney beans
50g baby spinach
Preheat your oven to 200C | 400F.
Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta.
Peel and dice the onion, and mince the garlic. Dice carrots and zucchini. Wash well & halve brussels sprouts.
Place a soup pot on medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Sauté onion and half the garlic, with a pinch of salt, for 5 - 7 minutes or until soft. Add in carrots, and sauté for a further 5 minutes. Season with dried basil and thyme.
Add in canned tomatoes, stock, zucchini and drained red kidney beans. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine brussels sprouts, 1 tbsp olive oil and the other half of the minced garlic. Season with salt & pepper and mix well. Lay brussels sprouts on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until crispy.
One minute before serving the soup, stir in the spinach so that it will be slightly wilted.
Serve soup with pasta & topped with brussels sprouts. Enjoy with crusty bread!
Note: If storing any for leftovers, keep the pasta separate so that it doesn't absorb all the liquid.
Tip: Make it gluten free with chickpea or brown rice pasta.
It's already vegan!