Last night, Joan Didion spoke at the New York Public Library. Though I wasn’t there, plenty of acquaintances, mostly of the online variety, were. They kept me posted through Twitter, with photos, observations, and snippets of her quotes.
There was a piece in the NYTimes — rather outdated at this point, at least, considering the rapid-fire way in which every newspaper, literary magazine, literary website, litblog, and more have covered Didion in the past month — that describes Didion’s writing in “Magical Thinking” and “Blue Nights” similarly: “‘Magical Thinking’ narrated the unexpected death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, through the rhythms of obsessive memory. ‘Blue Nights’ takes a similar approach.”
I think it’s crucial to point out a recurring theme in these profiles, in these interviews; a repeating note, if you will: all of this talk about rhythm.
It’s always been true that one cannot speak of Didion without speaking of rhythm, and while this is still true, the proverbial page has turned.
NYC-based writer Hannah Miet, who attended last night’s NYPL event, wrote about it here and said, “It was hard to write because it needed a new rhythm, one she had never used before. She said she had to make up the rhythm as she went along.”
So always, it is back to the rhythm.
((**More to come on last night’s NYPL event, from a fellow Didion devotee. Stay tuned!**))