I happened to run into Haddock and family today on my way to the library, and he recommended this book, and the library happened to have it, and I found myself reading it cover to cover in one sitting. Actually, I started reading it when I was walking back from the library, so it wasn’t technically “one sitting.”
At any rate, it’s Joan Didion’s book about the death of her husband, which occurred only days after her daughter was hospitalized with a serious infection in 2003. She writes about the experience of the first year after the death, from the profound sense of disconnection to the random triggers which send her off on complex pathways of memory. At the same time she’s coping with John’s death, she’s also dealing with her hospitalized daughter.
Whom, it turns out, died while the book was in proofs, but Didion decided not to edit the book to reflect this, apparently, feeling that the story had been told. To lose your husband and your child in the course of 18 months must be incredibly devastating, and it made the section of the book where she talks about the weirdness of the potential for your child predeceasing you all the more haunting and prescient.
This book is about death and the experience of death, but it’s also about life, and the small bits and pieces of Didion’s life which come together into a larger whole. It also read, to some extent, like a letter to her husband, talking about the struggles they endured and their ability to commit to each despite these problems. I think it takes a fair amount of balls to write a memoir this honest so quickly after such a huge event, but I think that’s Didion’s way. She had to write about it to process it, and it was interesting to be taken along for the experience.
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. Published 2005, 227 pages. Memoir.
I am really tired this morning, and I don’t really want to talk about politics (which I’m sure everyone is getting sick of anyway, given that this is not supposed to be a political website), so instead I’m going to show you some pictures of changing leaves. Because everybody likes fall colour. I had this ambitious plan to take a picture every day and show a series of photos documenting the change, but the foul weather got in the way of it. Alas. Maybe next year. Although there’s still some colour going on, so perhaps I can resurrect it.
Anyway, pretty leaves:
Yay leaves. I could look at changing leaves all day. I really miss the East Coast for that reason, the slow blush of colour that would start in early fall and slowly spread across the hills in every direction, and then the gradual disappearance of color as it was replaced by snow. It’s hard not to love such a changeable landscape.
The sites of interest is back! Sorry about the hiatus. Or maybe not. Maybe no reads this anyway, and it is totally pointless. Who knows. Anyway, sites of interest.
[Useless Dicta] is my featured NaBloPoMo blog of the day. Yay, blogs by lawyers in training.
There’s a new category in my navigation menu: LGBQT. (For those of you who have been confused by my use of this acronym in the last few days, I apologize. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Questioning/Queer*, and Transsexual. Get used to seeing it, because I’m going to start talking a lot more about LGBQT issues. More on this later.)
Bummed about the nation’s choice of President? From 52 to 48 With Love has some solace for you.
Here’s The Onion’s report on the election results, in case you missed it. It is totally awesome, all the more so because unlike the usual reporting at The Onion, it’s all true.
Are you missing Bush as President yet? Here’s a photo gallery of some of his most awesome moments. (Including the great shot of the turkey, ah, investigating his pants at Thanksgiving in 2001.)
The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center is raising funds to help fight the legal battle to overturn Prop 8. Please consider donating.
There aren’t many survivors of the First World War floating around at this point. Here’s a profile of one of them.
Some other responses (and studied analysis) to Prop 8 over at Obsidian Wings, discussing Prop 8 and the black vote; Slog, where Dan Savage wrote about homophobia in the black community; Bitch PhD, talking about the dangerous Constitutional implications of Prop 8; Joe. My. God., which reports that anti-equality organizations are monitoring gay websites and comment threads; Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose, with a discussion of 8 and other anti-equality measures (and a lively comment thread); the New York Times, with a column about the nature of equality which belies this quote from a fawning Kristof editorial: “We Americans have periodically betrayed that idea of equality and opportunity, but on Tuesday evening we powerfully revitalized it,” and a story with what may be the saddest picture I have ever seen; and Jezebel, where people wonder what to do now that intolerance managed to win out.
*”Oh my God, I can’t believe you said “queer,” that word is offensive!” No, it’s not, it’s our word, and we’re taking it back, damnit. (More on this later as well.)