Writers like to be remembered for what they said. After all, their words are their legacy. But one of the reasons why I love Joan Didion is because of what she does. Didion is a non-fiction writer, so her memoirs and journalistic accountants are filled with research. I can picture her typing away daily, with notes and books at her side. Didion started young too. She won an essay contest at Vogue, back when the glossies cared about real writing and giving new voices a start. Her work at Vogue paved the way for a career full of literary and screenwriting contributions. Now at 80, Didion is the new face of Celine's Spring campaign. I've always admired the ease of Didion's look; she looks like how I always pictured a writer to look.
Seeing her in this campaign reminded me of finishing her collection, "We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live" on the way back from my Napa vacation. I thought it so fitting that I completed this very California-centric read (see her work, "Where I Was From") while driving through the state. Being a native Californian, I feel an even deeper connection to Didion's words. I was reading by flashlight (the sun had long gone down) as I completed my 1104 page book that had begun on a separate road trip to the Midwest a couple of years ago. On the second to last page this phrase caught my eye, "There is no real way to deal with everything we lose." I let this sentence wash over me just as the dark of night washed over the California scenery and the road seemed to tuck itself under the tires of our car like a long black ribbon.
I began reading Joan Didion in college with 'The Year of Magical Thinking," a book all about the subject of loss. I've lost people I love, memories, things, and maybe even time, but Didion is the writer who has showed me the best way to deal with loss. After reading her work I became interested in writing memoir, which I pursued in college. Because of her, I too know where I come from. Joan deals with things by writing about them. She has that perfect cadence that speaks beyond years and pages. Her words yank you from the darkness of a lonely road somewhere and place you onto a clearer path. That's what Joan does for me. Kudos to this fashion house for reminding us that we still have one of the greatest writers of our time with us today.
*Images & details on the campaign via Vogue