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Joan Didion On Life
From a New York Times Books section profile by Rachel Donadio:

"I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it."

Joan Didion
Commencement Address at UC Riverside, 1975

Posted by aalkon at October 28, 2005 7:14 AM

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Joan Didion is still one of my favorite writers. I don't always agree with her viewpoint, but she is starkly eloquent.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 28, 2005 5:53 AM

Should add that I definitely DO agree with the above quote.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 28, 2005 5:54 AM

Go Highlanders!

Posted by: eric, class of '88 at October 28, 2005 8:14 AM

I wish she didn't play the carpe diem card. I hate when someone says that. It's too played out.

Posted by: little Ted at October 28, 2005 10:27 AM

It's funny how little response optimism provokes.

Posted by: jaime at October 28, 2005 11:12 AM

Actually, people have responded to me privately. I just think there's little to argue with here.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 29, 2005 10:12 AM

UC Riverside... is that a JC?

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at October 29, 2005 8:29 PM


Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 29, 2005 10:01 PM

Sorry, "junior college". Just parroting something somebody said to me once when it came up in conversation that I had gone to UCR.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at October 30, 2005 11:37 AM

A lot of colleges can be JCs if you make them that.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 11:39 AM

True, though I've always been quite fond of Riverside. Hence the love bite.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at October 30, 2005 3:41 PM

The voltage you get in the NYTBR is proportional to uyou ability to look dour in B&W photographs taken at various stages of your life. I closely scanned both the NYT and LAT articles ("blowjobs") that were given to this woman's book. I have no reason for doing so. I feel unclean. Kinda like staring at a National Enquirer too long at the grocery checkout.

Posted by: Crid at October 30, 2005 10:00 PM

I haven't read this book, but I have Slouching To Bethlehem, and her essay, "On Self-Respect," is better than the stuff on the topic by most psychologists. Worthy psychologists include: Albert Ellis on unconditional self-acceptance:

and Nathaniel Branden on self-esteem:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2005 11:09 PM

The quickest way to aquire self-esteem is to do something estimable.

Posted by: Crid at November 1, 2005 8:56 AM

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