Joan didion on keeping a notebook

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Students new to creative nonfiction invariably wrestle with the concept of telling their own truths, and are either unsettled or relieved by the idea that how and why we remember an occurrence is not the same as a factual record of that same occurrence. Keeping a diary can be droll, and can feel somewhat meaningless.

joan didion slouching towards bethlehem

Well, who cares? And neither did Didion. Jotting down the thoughts I have now, the things that surprise me today, the moments that inspire me throughout the year.

Joan didion quotes

How it felt to me: that is getting closer to the truth about a notebook. It was Joan Didion 's famous essay "On Keeping A Notebook" from Slouching Towards Bethlehem — basically required reading young journalists everywhere — that made me rethink my relationship with the humble notebook. There was the reason why all of my co-workers and friends were packing composition notebooks and pens wherever they went. I always find this stance curious as the habit of keeping a notebook is common amongst exceptional people who not only take the time to report their struggles and feelings but also review them across time. Slouching Towards Bethlehem , her first work of non-fiction, is interesting throughout. I even wrote an entire children's book once. How much of it actually happened?

We discuss the value of the technique, the way it works here, and how a mis en scene technique can fail in lesser hands. That would be a different impulse entirely, an instinct for reality which I sometimes envy but do not possess.

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How Joan Didion Inspired Me To Start Keeping A Notebook Again As An Adult