you go girl -- take two

(This is the first in a series of posts which will feature inspired and independent women.)
A few weeks ago my friend, Amy, a fellow aspiring writer, told me to re-read the introduction to Joan Didion's collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethehem. So I did. And then I kept on going. I'm so happy to rediscover this writer, who's work comes pretty damn close to perfection. Here's an excerpt from "Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream":
This is a story about love and death in the golden land, and begins with the country. The San Bernardino Valley lies only an hour east of Los Angeles by the San Berardino Freeway but is in certain ways an alien place: not the coastal California of the subtropical twilights and the soft westerlies off the Pacific but a harsher California, haunted by the Mojave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles and hour and whines the the eucalyptus windbreaks and works on the nerves. October is the bad month for the wind, the month when breathing is difficult and the hills blaze up spontaneously. There has been no rain since April. Every voice seems a scream. It is the season of suicide and divorce and the prickly dread, wherever the wind blows. This is the California where it is possible to live and die without ever eating an artichoke, without every meeting a Catholic or a Jew. This is the California where it is easy to Dial-A-Devotion, but hard to buy a book. This is the country in which a belief in the literal interpretaion of Genesis has slipped imperceptibly into a belief of the literal interpretation of Double Imdemnity, the country of teased hair and the Capris and the girls for whom all life's promise comes down to a waltz-length white wedding dress and the birth of a Kimberly or a Sherry or a Debbi and a Tijuana divorce and a return to hairdressers' school. "We were just crazy kids," they say without regret, and look to the future. The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past. Here is where the hot wind blows and the old ways do not seem relevant, where the divorce rate is double the national average and where one person is every thirty-eight lives in a trailer. Here is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else, for all those who drifted away from the cold and the past and the old ways. Here is where they are trying to find a new life style, trying to find it in the only places they know to look: the movies and the newspapers.
I'm having a Joan Didion moment in a big, big way.

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