Anyone who knows me knows I’m a quote whore. I have quotes tacked up everywhere – my work space, my fridge, my altar where I chant, I write them down and use them as bookmarks. Everywhere. I discovered this Patti Smith quote last month via Brain Pickings and thought it was the perfect meditation for the New Year ahead.
What should we aspire to as we go on our road? When I was in my early twenties, I was lucky to have William Burroughs as a friend and mentor. Once I was with him and I asked him this question: “What should I aspire to?” and he thought, and he said: “My dear, a gold American Express would be good.” But after that, he said very thoughtfully, “Build your name.” And i said, “William, my name is Smith.” And he said, “Well, you’ll have to build a little harder.” But what William meant when he told me to build my name. Build a good name — because a name is not to get famous. He wasn’t talking about celebrity — he was talking about let your name radiate your self, magnify who you are, your good deeds, your code of honor. Build your name and as you go through life, your name will serve you.
Patti Smith’s Advice on Life [Brain Pickings]