“We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not,” Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) observed in her timeless meditation on the value of keeping a notebook. For the past half-century, the beloved author has been keeping American society on nodding terms with itself, despite the themes of cultural collapse and moral chaos that permeate Didion’s novels and her literary nonfiction.
A champion of the New Journalism movement, Didion has brought her exquisite amalgamation of narrative storytelling and nonfiction to such diverse subjects as mourning, museums, music, second-wave feminism, and the American political process. She lists Hemingway and Henry James among her handful of influences, but women writers like the Brontë sisters and George Eliot she sees as “models for a life, not for a style.”
Despite devastating personal tragedy — the sudden loss of her husband of nearly forty years, followed closely by the death of her daughter — Didion has continued to find in writing, above all, access to her own mind, in turn inviting the reader to access greater truths about what it means to be human in modern culture, implicitly asking, as she often does in her nonfiction, “Do you get the point?”
Source: The Reconstructionists
As we move towards the holiday season, I thought I would highlight a self-empowering subject or quote to propel us into the season.
Joan Didion is a beautiful soul who I admire for her sense of internal wandering and being a “champion of the New Journalism movement,” in which I find myself actively engaging in as a young writer. As someone who has always loved storytelling, exploring individuals and the human condition, I find that feeling empowered within yourself allows others to feel empowered around you.
Life is meant to be lived, loved and engaged with—to find the beautiful and to find what still needs fixing.
This “New Journalism” movement allows us to engage with reality in ways that become more personal and intimate with ourselves.