Ramblings & ephemera

Joan Didion on life in Los Angeles

From Marc Weingarten’s “The White Album“:

Among the many piercing flashes of insight to be found in [Joan Didion’s] The White Album’s essays, many of which were written between 1968 and 1979 for publications like Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Los Angeles Times Book Review, is one overarching fact of L.A. life – that it exists on a very slippery foundation. Here was an arid desert landscape adjacent to the Pacific that received its water over 200 miles away from the Central Valley, that built its houses on an active seismic fault, that was prone to brush fires, flooding and earthquakes. It was a city in denial of its own instability. …

But it was more than just the events of that darkest year of the sixties that gave Didion intimations of impending doom. She understood what so many failed to grasp about Los Angeles, especially all of those outsiders who migrate here seeking eternal good health, good weather and untold riches: That life here tends to be about as stable as mercury on glass, and therefore not prone to snug feelings of security and safety. …

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