12.02.2011

Didion Did


I recently read Joan Didion's "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" for my California Lit class. As a writer that writes not only impulsively but in an almost stream of consciousness manner, her pieces are full of unique thoughts and contemplations. It's impressionist writing really, putting into words whatever sight or thought comes into mind. 

In "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," she comments on everything from John Wayne to life among the hippies on Haight-Ashbury. She critiques many California assumptions and lifestyle choices, but she also celebrates the right and understanding of the native Californian. I thought I would post some of my favorite quotes to spark some interest in this original "new journalist." She will even be talking at UCLA on April 14th!

"...the country of teased hair and the Capris and the girls for whom all life's promises comes down to a waltz-length white wedding dress and the birth of a Kimberly or a Sherry or a Debbi and a Tijuana divorce and a return to hairdressers' school. 'We were just crazy kids,' they say without regret, and look to the future."

"It was all, moreover, in the name of 'love'; everyone involved places a magical faith in the efficacy of the very word."

"We had a lot of drinks and I lost the sense that the face across the table was in certain ways more familiar than my husband's."

"Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person."

"There's never been a good Republican folksinger."

"Our favorite people and our favorite stories become so not by any inherent virtue, but because they illustrate something deep in the grain, something unadmitted."

"All of these services, like most others in Las Vegas, are offered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, presumably on the premise that marriage, like craps, is a game to be played when the table seems hot."

"'You can get high on a mantra,' he says. 'But I'm holy on acid.'"

"It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you."

(Old Ventura)
"All that is constant about the California of my childhood is the rate at which it disappears."