A Letter To The Hotel Chelsea, NYC

Dear haunted walls

Chelsea, I thank you. I have never stepped within your premises but when I needed to be built again I laid my foundations with your bricks.

I’m a great believer in souls, and treating your soul with respect and care. Some may nourish theirs with sleep, or food or warm water and soap. My nutrients lay within your ghosts. You see Chelsea, I may be far away but I live within you and you live on my bookshelf, in my music collection, in each and every thing I create, in the material hung from my bones and in every word I speak.

I found you before I needed you, in the pages of a book. But you stayed within, a rare thing. People may say you need to leave the past behind, and at a time when I lost the love in my life I should have listened. But the present and future are cruelly ambiguous and I’ve always loved history so I dived deeper, left the closest out of focus and looked to the history of your halls. Art, love, passion, discovery and heartache, the plethora of stories served as anaesthetic, and lately a vitamin.

When losing connections to the people that inspired me and the people I admired, I found new idols in your tales, new morals, new outlooks. And now I am shaped by the endless tireless work of Patti Smith to honour her art and build her name, reminded by the work (and affairs) of Leonard Cohen to allow myself to be impulsive and warned by Sid and Nancy that all-consuming love is nothing but danger and danger is all well and good until it kills you.

Learning of you and the abundance of art that flowed through you serves as comfort to me, a beacon of hope and a reminder that there are many that use their art as a lifeline so it’s okay that I do to.

Patti once said “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” This is one thing I gladly never learnt from you Chelsea. Your inhabitants stand as icons for the extremities, existing in a darkly glamourous universe separate from the rest. But their art remains approachable, in spite of and beside the point of their lives. The temporarily death defying love and drugs, although catalyses, never live on like the art. You taught me that; the cause never lasts, only the effect. Suffering is always irrelevant, turn it into something.

I built myself through you, found a home in you years after my inspirations did. And now, Chelsea, you live through me in any way possible. And so I thank you.

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