Happy Birthday, Joan Didion!

5 December 2013

Alison and I started our roles at WGSN two weeks apart from one another.  Lucky for me, I was assigned a desk in whisper distance to hers and from there our fast friendship began.

Alison and I did the usual work dance: commiserating over impending deadlines, celebrity + co-worker  gossip and walks around the office block. But what I loved most about our friendship was our constant sharing of interesting tidbits. Art, fashion, books, articles, you name it – we shared it.   Most of the emails would begin something like this, “thought you’d like,” or “good read.”

I recently re-read one of those emails from Alison, one that has stuck with me till this day, still gmail starred; Subject Line:  My Favorite Joan Didion Essay. The essay Alison sent along was Joan Didion’s most famous, “Goodbye to All That,” in which Didion pens a letter to her friends about her move out of New York City to Los Angeles, calling it  “a curious aberration.”  The essay has both haunted and intrigued me. I’d recall it when I felt like the city had just become too much to bear, my enemy and my nightmare. Any New Yorker could agree we’ve all had our outbursts, our confusion over the love/hate relationship of New York and there’s no better read that sums it up, than this essay. You can read it here.  

How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and and ten
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again—
If your feet are nimble and light
You can get there by candlelight.

Happy 79th birthday, Joan. Thank you for putting so much amazing wisdom and words into the universe from helping us deal with grief, confusion on our current zip code and among other things, keeping a notebook.

"Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?"

“Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”

joan didion

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

"A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”

PS: Thanks Al!

Categories: books, Lifestyle, women