Ask your questions to Patti Smith | Culture

IIt did not take long before lockdown was reformulated as the chance to finally produce the creative masterpiece you have been sitting on: after all, Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague, so what’s your excuse? Patti Smith did – as always – something more interesting with her time, focusing not on a single work, but an opportunity to let her wild creativity roam while protecting herself with a bronchial condition.

In April 2021, Smith launched a Substack newsletter to share her poetry, music, and thoughts. It quickly inspired The Melting, a longer, serialized work (now 45 parts and counting) that started as her private pandemic journal before undergoing a glorious multimedia mutation that obscures fact and fiction. “I was already looking to get out of my skin and move into another dimension,” she told Esquire.

From her incomparable hints of lockdown claustrophobia emerged a “parallel”, multidimensional world in which Smith embarks on a path of discovery that draws in science fiction, warnings about the climate crisis and dealing with the defunct Continental Drift Club, which may be familiar to readers of M Train.

“The Reader is My Notebook,” says Smith, who credits her Substack for reinventing her process of creating and publishing – a bold and intriguing claim by an artist who has never taken a conventional creative path from the early days of New York City’s beginning punk scene, to collaborate with her partner Robert Mapplethorpe; takes early half board to raise his family and re-emerges gloriously as one of the greatest live artists of his generation.

Most recently, she has made a name for herself as a powerful and inventive memoir writer with Just Kids, M Train and Year of the Monkey – and this fall brings a new photographic publication, A Book of Days, which brings together “a year of reflections and images, inspired by my Instagram, but original throughout … The fruit of much work, populated by sacred ghosts and celebration of the new. “

You can ask Smith about all this and everything else from her amazingly scattered story when she sits for the Guardian’s reader interview. Ask your questions in the comments before 18:00 GMT on March 27, and Smith’s response will be announced on April 1.

Subscribe to Patti Smith’s Substack and read The Melting at

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