The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Cool Hall of Fame #181

Joan Didion


MichaelRyerson said...

She looks like a little bird, albeit one with a nicotine habit, harking back to a time when we, one presumes, didn't know better.

estiv said...

I recently went through the Everyman edition of her collected non-fiction. As good as it was, there seemed to be a definite trend from beginning to end (the pieces were in chronological order): that famous combo of worldly perspicacity and emotional delicacy seemed to gradually lessen the further you went. Then in "The Year of Magical Thinking" it all came back. I guess a hard life does make for an interesting mind. Still, I'd rather read her when she's not at her absolute best than a lot of other people at all. pic.

Vergilio said...

That is a "before" photo. Please, post the "after" one from Wikipedia.



paul said...

I set up a drop-in booksigning for her once- she signed for a half hour and said not a word to any of us, just "thank you" as she left.

Kreisler said...

Great writer, very good smoker

estiv said...


I get the impression that she's almost pathologically shy, that that strong personality so apparent in her writing is almost never expressed face-to-face. Which is not to say that she mightn't learn a little better manners.

Robert Fiore said...

By the evidence presented she was sure as hell cool then, even if she was swinging with the National Review.

Gerard Saylor said...

I believe portraits like that. Posed, poised, confident. I would see those when younger and think, "That's what important adults look like."