Friday, March 25, 2011

Life, by Keith Richards

The artist's life, kids, is work—hours upon hours of passionate, single-minded, obsessive, bleeding-fingers work. And if you've got an open soul—that's a hell of an "if"—and if you're lucky enough to meet your Mick Jagger, and if by some miracle you manage to remain alive despite the dangers of your own openness, you might make for the rest of us something that matters.

While I was reading this wonderful memoir—which is less about girls and drugs (although they're in there) than about the working life of an artist through the second half of the 20th century—I was reminded of a question by the German poet Durs Grünbein:
I don't want to frighten you, but have you ever thought about what happens to people who aren't artists?
Keith Richards spared himself that terror. If you want a glimpse into the cost of his calling—the highest calling that we can call a profession—then give the book a long listen. Like his music, it's worth every minute.

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