#012 ☼ California Queen: Joan Didion
Global Jet Ski Adventure • Joan Didion • Inside the Versace Mansion
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With tasting notes of European summer romance, inspiration to seize the day, the history of emojis, a Brooklyn home conversion and a jet ski adventure across the globe.
The good life beckons once more!
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California Queen: JOAN DIDION
"It is easy to see the beginning of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves... When I first saw New York I was twenty, and it was summertime... and the warm air smelled of mildew and some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever heard sung ... informed me that it would never be quite the same again. In fact it never was."
This the opening of Joan Didion's iconic essay Goodbye to All That back in 1967, arriving in New York City for the first time from her native California to take up a job at Vogue which she had won through an essay contest.
Garnering a name for herself quickly through sharp and vivid writing, Didion's life and career are hard to distill into mere sentences. A novelist, screenwriter and reporter, her irreverent voice stands out not only on the page but also as a reluctant sartorial tastemaker through her Hollywood home, her Corvette Stingray and the dark glasses she would don before cracking open her morning Coca Cola.
"Not only can she write incisively about confounding political realities and her own bewildering, painful life, she can also appear in an ad for Céline at age 80, wearing oversized sunglasses, looking like the legend that she is."
After all — “Style is character,” Didion told the Paris Review. Her essential packing list, the items which she would pack before every trip or assignment was revealed in her nonfiction collection The White Album.
Circulating the underworld of the American literati, Joan worked closely with her husband John Gregory Dunne, writing screenplays together in Los Angeles in their respective offices. One would write the first draft, then the other would rewrite it and so on until they didn't know where one started and the other ended.
In her book The Year of Magical Thinking written after John's sudden death at the dinner table, Joan revealed "I did not always think he was right nor did he always think I was right but we were each the person the other trusted."
Described by Barack Obama as "one of our sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture", Didion leaves an incredibly legacy behind as well as her eclectic art collection and her life in objects.
Recovered from Didion's 1975 commencement speech, she imparts:
"I want to tell you to live in the messy world, throw yourself into the convulsion of the world.
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 only 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."
In Between the Scenes: The “Before” Trilogy
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