Patti Smith gets it right. Again.


Patti Smith

“When we got to the part where we had to improvise an argument in a poetic language, I got cold feet. ‘I can’t do this,’ I said. ‘I don’t know what to say.’

‘Say anything,” [Sam Shepard] said. ‘You can’t make a mistake when you improvise.’

‘What if I mess it up? What if I screw up the rhythm?’

‘You can’t,’ he said. ‘It’s like drumming. If you miss a beat, you create another.’

In this simple exchange, Sam taught me the secret of improvisation, one that I have accessed my whole life.”