joan didion

by uzwi

“Part of what I want to tell you is what it is like to be young in New York, how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots–the Seagram Building fountains dissolve into snowflakes, and I enter a revolving door at twenty and come out a good deal older, and on a different street.” [“Goodbye to all that”, Slouching Toward Bethlehem.] This, along with the preceding essay, “Los Angeles Note Books”, is the best of her. Observationally clean & stripped-down, perfectly sweet & sour, nostalgic but taking no prisoners, not even herself. Especially herself. I’d kill to write like this, to be able to face and record things from this angle, which is both slyly direct and directly oblique. All distinctions between forms dissolve into this. It is written so lightly & fluidly into being. By the mid-to-late 60s she had already done everything I associate with Jayne Anne Phillips & Denis Johnson.