I met Joan Didion yesterday. Or rather, I shook her frail hand, which felt like rice paper, and exchanged a few words that weren't reciprocated. I asked her if she was aware of my book and she responded yes, though she hadn't read it. She scrawled her address on the back of a flyer and asked me to send it to her. And that was about it; she needed to meet her fans and sign books.
She is so frail, you want to cradle her in your arms and protect her from harm. And yet, the mind remains strong, the imagination sturdy, as evidenced by The Year Of Magical Thinking. In this late stage of her life and career, she has become something else altogether - not a beloved personal essayist, maybe the best of her generation, but a writer who has struck a universal chord with the story of her tragedy, which is everyone's tragedy. I hope more books are produced before it gets too late.