April 5, 2008

A Didion gem unearthed

Joan Didion's name is one that I'd heard in conversation time and time again. She became one of those authors that I'd always intended to read and would be considered "well-read" if I did. So, as I was flipping through a book the other day, I stumbled upon one of her essays. And I think it changed my life.

It's called "Goodbye to All That." The essay is about her journey as a young out-of-towner to New York City and the challenges she faced in coming to terms with life in another place, and eventually leaving it. I especially liked her introduction.

I want to explain to you, and in the process perhaps to myself, why I no longer live in New York. It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young.

I got chills reading those lines because I've seen older ladies heaving briefcases up dirty stairwells and mothers and fathers straining across an avenue with their children bawling to high heaven in a stroller.

That's when I realize that I'm not going to belong here forever. And that's I'm wishing for most in my life right now. A place to call my own. You can't really make New York your own. It's always just a little bit out of reach; like your little corner of the street belongs to at least 15 other people, or that pretty place on the promenade is someone else's favorite.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at April 5, 2008 11:29 AM | TrackBack
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