This week we appreciate New York-based writer and New Journalist Joan Didion, born and raised in Sacramento, the Big Tomato. Pioneer stock. Some of her people were part of the Donner Party, in fact—those who wisely turned north to Oregon instead of scaling the Sierra Nevada.
One of my favorite Didion books is Where I Was From, first published in 2003. Note, in the book title, that she was from here, from California, but that past tense suggests she no longer is. The physical facts of the matter haven’t changed—she was born in Sacramento, on December 5, 1938, and lived here for much of her life—but everything else has. I’m glad she took an entire book to explain. Didion’s voice in Where I Was From isn’t so different from that in her debut collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, also exploring California. But the perspective is.