Joan Didion @ Aloud 11/16/11

in conversation with David Ulin @ The ex-Cathedral of St. Vibiana (now just Vibiana)

UPDATE 11/18/11: watch (now you can check if I misquoted anything! and I can figure out what my various illegible notes said…)

started with a reading of the beginning of The White Album — For the life of me I still couldn’t remember what Aristophanic meant. “Of or pertaining to Aristophanes” isn’t enough data to hold onto, like meeting a person and trying to remember their name before knowing any facts to hold it in place in your memory.

She talked about learning to live without a narrative and realizing her life didn’t have one.

Blue Nights — began as a book about parents and children and became about aging and death

“No one told me I was going to get older.” [audience chuckle]

how hard it is to allow yourself/accept that you have the “right to write” about someone else

Where I Was From — facing the lies other people had told her about California, realizing she was guilty of lying about CA (ex. imagining you come from an Oregon Trail California, well that’s true, but not true because “it didn’t mean what I thought it meant.”) — tearing down narrative

She’s never written anything not for readers. While working on The Year of Magical Thinking play, she realized that plays are a nightly collaboration between the audience and the players, likewise, writing is a collaboration between the reader and the writer. She doesn’t keep a journal.

passage from Blue Nights about keeping mementos

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