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Why Does Joan Didion Write?

by Kalinda Rose Stevenson

Why Write?

Why write? Joan Didion identifies her reason for writing everything she writes.
Joan Didion

This is what she says about why she writes:

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.


Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work…

How Joan Didion the Writer Became Joan Didion the Legend by Lili Anolik Vanity Fair. Joan Didion arrived in Los Angeles in 1964 on the way to becoming one of the most important writers of her generation, a cultural icon who changed L.A.’s perception of itself…

The Elitist Allure of Joan Didion by Meghan Daum. The Atlantic.  A big biography looks at the author’s legacy of cool. She has been an object of aspirational longing. Revered (worshipped, in many cases) as much for her glamorously aloof public persona as for her infectious, revolutionary-in-its-time prose style, Didion was—and remains—famous in a way that writers seldom are anymore (and, though some of today’s embittered literary types like to believe otherwise, seldom were even back then)…

by Nathan Heller. Vogue. Joan Didion, who turns eighty in December, has tended to be both too easily admired and too rapidly dismissed. The admiration often rises from a sense that Didion’s writing is an exercise in frank self-revelation, the disclosures of an astute cultural observer who is fragile, and yet, in the high speed and higher fashion of her life, profoundly cool…

The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), by Joan Didion (b. 1934), is an account of the year following the death of the author's husband John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003). Published by Knopf in October 2005, The Year of Magical Thinking was immediately acclaimed as a classic book about mourning. It won the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography. (Wikipedia)
[Original Post October 22, 2014]
What are your thoughts about why you want to write? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

On Writing Words: A Writer’s Essential Relations with Words is about the essential writing skill that turns good writing into great writing, It’s a secret hidden in plain sight. Great writing depends on choosing the right words.  

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