“Another thing I need to do, when I'm near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it...
Somehow the book doesn't leave you when you're asleep right next to it.” Yes. Didion faced two unimaginable tragedies in her later life — the loss of her husband and daughter, in quick succession. 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.
When Didion lost her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, she channeled her grief into The Year of Magical Thinking, and the book became a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of a National Book Award.
Not long after, she lost her daughter Quintana Roo, and Didion wrote Blue Nights in an effort to make some sense of that loss.
What I want and what I fear.” She writes to live, and lives to write.
If you have that same passion, then keep on writing.
One of Didion’s most quoted lines is, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” If you’re in need of a little reminder about why you write and what in the world you’re thinking trying to become an essayist or a poet, reading her work might just rekindle your passion.
“I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means.
Within this essay, and in all of her work, the thing that holds the center is Didion herself.
As Evan Carton puts it in his analysis of , “Didion is not ‘at the center’ because she is…