Hi guys, and welcome back to Tuesday Book Journeys! Truthfully, this has become one of my favorite days of the week, because I love sharing my thoughts and ideas with you all. Here’s the link to my last post in case you missed it!
Today, I thought I would share with you some near and dear short stories, several that I’ve recently stumbled upon and others that I’ve carried with me for a long while, quietly tucked in the corner of my mind for when I need to revisit. Personal essays are some of my favorite pieces to read — they skillfully encapsulate a moment in time, archiving it for both the reader and writer to visit and relive.
Joan Didion’s infamous quote, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” speaks volumes of truth even now, decades later. Just as many writers find their passion in capturing the essence of a particular period of time, there is also a certain comfort in reading those life lessons, revelations, afflictions, celebrations of others.
“Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion.
I could most definitely wax poetic about Joan Didion for hours, but I’ll prematurely digress by addressing just one of her short essays. “Goodbye to All That” is the closing piece to her book, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, and that, among other reasons, was why it probably lingered with me the longest.
Didion tells us about her time living in New York, moving there when she was just 20 years old and overwhelmed as she tried to navigate her new world. Coincidentally, this story found me in my first semester of college, living away from home for the first time in unfamiliar territory. I was coming off a particularly bad stint of anxiety, induced primarily by my home-sickness. I was juggling so many new things at once, trying to right myself in this uncharted environment. Perhaps I wasn’t in such a culture shock as Didion moving from suburban Sacramento to New York City, but the message fell on my ears regardless.
“…one of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.”
I came across this article on Buzzfeed about a year ago and it has stuck with me ever since. Like Kristen King, I’ve had my fair share of odd interactions on Tinder, as it seems like a lot of its users are solely looking for hookups and only some are actually forthcoming about it. Others think they can use charm and ‘typical’ or conventional niceties to win you over and earn sexual favors. It’s a scenario I can imagine resonates with a lot of us who are young enough to be acquainted with the nuances of modern online dating.
“He had done all the generically “correct” things when it came to dating: He texted the next day, he told me I looked beautiful, he arrived on time, he opened the door.”
The highlight of this story, of course, is the reminder that regardless of what someone decides to offer to you, you aren’t indebted to them. It’s an age-old story, one that most people — including myself — can say confidently that they would know exactly how to handle. When it becomes less metaphorical and more real… it’s harder to say. Cautionary tales like these are necessary to demolishing pesky societal norms that portray women as commodities.
Another favorite of mine is Eve Babitz’s Black Swan: Stories, a collection of memories from glam and glitz nights in L.A.
Eve Babitz, like Joan Didion, owns a part of my heart. What strikes me with Babitz’s writing is the matter-of-fact way she describes Los Angeles during the turn of the decade between the 1980s and 1990s. Within the fluid prose, there is a certain magic in her writing that accentuates the moments of sadness, lust, madness, sheer elation. Just as in my own preconceived perception of Hollywood, Babitz’s storytelling possesses a glamorous quality. One can’t avoid some degree of romanticizing of a place they have inhabited and it’s evident in the way she recounts nights in Hollywood that she holds a high level of passion for and knowledge of this city. I highly recommend not only this story but the entire book.
I’m Dana, a recent college grad from Sonoma State University and newly appointed Social Media Intern here at A+D here to chat with you every Tuesday and Friday. I’m excited to be a part of and witness the publishing process through the lens of a boutique agency. It’s so cool to be a part of a publishing movement specializing in artistic branding and helping contemporary writers craft their written work. Here, we’ll chat about the books that are changing and shaping our lives! So, here’s the place to explore them, to let them out. You can just think of me as your modern-day Bridget Jones – the bookish version!