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Pickle Me This

May 2, 2007


Where I Was From by Joan Didion is the best book by Joan Didion I have ever read. This is no small praise. Yes, The Year of Magical Thinking came with a sentimentality creeping in which humanized Didion and I appreciated that, but reading Where I Was From I realize that she is at her very best when cold and watching. It’s the connections she draws which make her work so powerful, and I love the way she leaves us to do with them what we will. Or at least the way she seems to let us do what we will, for her words are so calculated, her logic so exact, that even when I disagree with what she is saying, I cannot help but see her point of view.

I am now reading The Fifth Child on the advice of Heather Mallick. Intriguing, apparently not typical Lessing, and much akin to We Need To Talk About Kevin, which was my best book of 2005 (and which I’ll be rereading this summer).

Last night I cried upon realizing that my days have suddenly become much shorter, which is the power of an eight hour workday. This was devastating to contemplate, as there I was aiming to finish Where I Was From, write the end to a stubborn short story, post an entry on Divisadero, and bake cupcakes all before bedtime. How I will miss my grad student/housewife days, where all of that was possible, and hours and hours more were open wide, and I was still free to cavort with the postman every morning, and read and write all day long. But then I got to work this morning and remembered that I’ve got a pretty lovely gig for the next few months, my coworkers are wonderful, I can ride my bike to get there, the work is (sometimes) interesting. More good things were underlined as we went outside to play catch at lunch time.

And so all is well, and time enough there will be. I suppose also that eight hours a day of wages will make evenings and weekends a delight.

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