24 October 2006

I [heart] Joan Didion

I have been on a reading jag of the works of Joan Didion. It started with a book on California she had written called Where I Was From and then I decided I should read The Year of Magical Thinking about her life after her husband John Gregory Dunne passed away. And most recently I picked up her collection of essays from 1968 tittled Slouching Towards Bethlehem. And while I would recommend anyone read all three of these books, I had to share something from an essay in Slouching Towards Bethlem titled "On Self-Respect." I would recommend everyone read this essay, but the pearl of wisdom I wanted to share is this:
It was once suggested to me that, as an anti-dote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable; it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one's head in a Food Fair bag.
This gem, which made my roommate and I laughed hilariously for sometime, also gave me a sense of perspective. A lot has happened recently that tempts me to drown myself in a pool of self-pity, but this sentence is the shove into reality that I need. This world is hard and not fair and I have had more than my share of wonderful things, so I shouldn't let some worries and some sorrows turn my usual rational self into a melodramatic wallower. But just in case, I'll keep the Food Fair bag handy.


3 comments:

Panini said...

:) that's awesome. Good food-for-thought--I've been all about pity party for months now. At least "thinking" about a brown paper bag on my head --will probably be distracting enough to stem the tears. ;) that's great.

Esperanza said...

THat is an awesome passage! Also, good halloween costume idea? jk. LOL.

aquamarine said...

Oh this is priceless!! I love it, Scully.