She Left No Immediate Survivors Joan Didion (1934-2021)

“A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.” 

She Left No Immediate Survivors ::: Joan Didion (1934-2021)

Joan Didion

Joan’s nephew, Griffin Dunne, made the documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold in 2017. To raise funds for the film those who pledged $50 or more to the crowdfunding effort received a copy of her personal cookbook.

As the Guardian described it, the cookbook was really “a scrapbook of food clippings from magazines, menus of the meals she served at dinner parties (for Patti Smith she made chicken hash with roasted yellow peppers and baguettes) and food-stained recipes, handwritten, with terse crossing-outs, its most revealing page was the recipe for a parsley salad, less as an illustration of her diet, or even for the way its sparse style reflects her prose, but more as an insight into her social reach: the salad feeds up to 40.” In other words, it was the best kind of cookbook.

She Left No Immediate Survivors ::: Joan Didion (1934-2021)

Joan Didion with her daughter, Quintana Roo, and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, at their Malibu home in California in 1972 (photo courtesy of The New York Times).

She was the best.

She Left No Immediate Survivors ::: Joan Didion (1934-2021)

“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture.

To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”