Joan Didion celebrated her 81st birthday on December 5th. She is on the short list of four or five people who’d likely have me weak-kneed to be in her company. Many people much more competent than me have written extensively on her work, on what it may mean to American literature. I just know I love to read her…
and talk about her. I talk about her a lot. Here’s why;
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
I’m at a loss for something to add. I’ve read this passage a hundred times and I’ll read it a hundred more. Stay well, Joan.