Joan Didion Archive
I can understand why Roland Barthes, like many others, may have second-guessed the veracity of his migraines, this extreme—invisible—pain. Even with the blinds drawn, lying on my bed with a cold washcloth across my forehead, I wonder if what I am feeling is real.
Last April, I attended Alexander Chee’s talk on reporting the self. He said: “The thing that you remember is the thing that you live with.” I’d never heard this truth stated so clearly before. What else but memory could be at the root of so many personal conflicts and
Didion’s books seem to teeter over a precipice, seeing the rocks at the bottom and grimly awaiting the final push. However dire the current landscape may be, Didion sees it as a precursor instead of an end.
Not all wandering is equal; not all bodies can move easily through all spaces. While there is always the possibility of danger in wandering, there is also, however, a benefit to changing our surroundings and seeing a world beyond what we are used to.
Joan Didion’s unique worldview—that laser-sharp analysis of everything from the California coastline to Doors frontman Jim Morrison to her own personal grief and loss—might have been formed the day she failed to make Phi Beta Kappa at the University of California at Berkeley.
I cannot watch a documentary about Joan Didion impartially any more than her nephew, Griffin Dunne, could make an impartial film about his legendary aunt. To say that Didion, now 82, has had an impact on me is an understatement.
Joan Didion's 1979 book of essays The White Album is not only a road trip through the gridded streets and indecisive canyons of Los Angeles County, but also a meditation on Southern California as a setting for self-discovery.
In my mind, Joan Didion and Annie Dillard are linked, two sides to the same coin, one the yin to the other’s yang. This is unfair to both women.
About two years ago, I arranged for a one-way ride to York, Maine, to buy a 2004 Toyota Matrix that I found on Craigslist. While the owner counted the cash, he gave me a brief history of my new car.
The political and cultural moment of SOUTH AND WEST's release could not have been foreseen, but through her narrative disappearing act, Didion leaves us to make sense of what we read to find its central purpose.