From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The men I've known haven't been John Wayne either.



       I was surprised, I don't know why, at her frailty when she was escorted out onto the stage. Joan Didion is a tiny little woman, wearing winter clothes to warm her bitty body on a warm June night. As I watched her fill a fraction of her chair, the words empress dowager came to my mind. Her reading voice was a bit stronger then her appearance suggested it might be. Strong in it's style more than it's power. She read in a way that lets you know it is your job to follow along and not hers to lead you. A grandmother's voice. One that knows it possesses wisdom, but is also wise enough to know the grandchild may take or leave the lesson.
       Last night I was taking the lesson. I haven't been able to read her latest book, Blue Nights, the subject of losing a child too horrific for me to visit at this time in my life, but I greatly appreciate that her last two books have been about grief, which she said she would rather not have had to do. Of course. She told a fan, "I don't recommend grief for anything." And a quote she is well known for explains why she, and I, and thousands of others, write about grief, "I don't know what I think until I write it down". Writing brings clarity to many of us. Catharsis to some. And as Joan alluded to, if reading about it helps someone else, that is a great bonus.
      She isn't sure what she will write next, but doesn't think the next work will be about grief. I am anxious to know what comes after. I've included a link below to Joan's famous essay about John Wayne. I hope that she knows that to many aspiring writers like me she has as big boots to fill as the duke.

://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/john-wayne-a-love-song-joan-didion-has-for-three-decades-addressed-her-reporters-eye-and-novelists-pen-to-the-psyche-of-america-high-and-low-from-the-hippies-of-haight-ashbury-to-miami-immigrants-to-the-powers-of-hollywood-and-washington-this-month-three-books-of-her-articles-are-published-here-from-1965-is-some-classic-oldstyle-machismo-1478912.html