Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Thursday, 15 December 2016

Patti Smith\'s Essay About Getting Nervous Is A Thing Of Beauty

Patti Smith's Essay About Getting Nervous Is A Thing Of Beauty

The Debrief: Proof that even the most spectacular and accomplished women can fall prey to feeling anxious.

Over the weekend, at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, Patti Smith performed Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall in front of 1,500 distinguished guests.

Halfway through, she went silent, attempted to pick things up again, then went silent again. 'I'm sorry,' she said. 'I'm so nervous'.

She was gracious, beautiful and humble. She finished the song. It was wonderful. People in the audience cried. It was one of the most endearing live music moments of our times.

But oh my gosh guys - you know what this means - even PATTI SMITH gets nervous. Patti Smith whose career spans over forty years. Patti Smith whose protest songs take no prisoners. Patti Smith, one of the greatest musical artists ever to have lived...

Patti Smith gets nervous.

She yesterday addressed the issue in an essay she penned for the New Yorker.

'On the morning of the Nobel ceremony, I awoke with some anxiety.' She wrote explaining that, as the time neared for her performance she was imagining some of the people who had walked this stage in the past. People like Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus.

'The first verse was passable, a bit shaky, but I was certain I would settle. But instead I was struck with a plethora of emotions, avalanching with such intensity that I was unable to negotiate them.... Unaccustomed to such an overwhelming case of nerves, I was unable to continue. I hadn't forgotten the words that were now a part of me. I was simply unable to draw them out.'

You can read the full essay here which includes the fact that some of the world's most eminent and accomplished scientists came up to Patti saying how they totally related.


If Patti Smith and Nobel Prize winning scientists get unsure of themselves from time to time, then how the hell are you meant to have your confidence in order. Give yourself a break, we're all only human.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

'Anxiety Is Part Of What It Is To Be Alive'

5 Ted Talks For When You’re Feeling Anxious

5 Practical Things You Can Do To Deal With Your Anxiety

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