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Mother’s Day and Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I finished reading Blue Nights this morning and was struck by the heart rending sadness there is in to be a motherless mother on Mothers Day.

This must be one of the saddest days for them to endure.

Ms. Didion grapples not only with the effects of her aging body and mind but the grief of the loss of her only child. In this book she reflects on her life as a mother and the busy-ness of that life, the unexpected, and all of the images and words of her daughter through the years. The memories of the phone call she received telling her that there is a baby that needs a mother to the ICU’s she visits where her adult daughter is in and the mother needs her daughter. The need is felt deeply through her writing.

I love her candidness as she shares all of her strangled thoughts and questions that are really not meant to be answered but just need to be spoken.  There was a line she wrote about thinking through her writing to understand what she feels. And though that is not an exact quote, I thought that is why I write, that is what I have done since I was a young child.

The writing has always been my way of connecting to myself to my emotions.

I saw this quote yesterday and again the truth of these words are at the heart of me.

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
Isaac Asimov

Of all the pain’s that can break the heart of a mother, none could be deeper than that of the loss of a child.

Today I lift up prayer’s for all mother’s who grieve.

I didn’t think while I was in the middle of this book that I would be interested in reading more of her writing, I was wrong. I plan on reading more of her work from her earlier writing.  If anyone has read any of her books and have suggestions I would love to hear them.

One thought on “Mother’s Day and Blue Nights by Joan Didion

  1. Joan Didion is considered by some to be “the essential chronicler of the farce that is the California dream.” This is a paraphrase rather than an actual quote. I’ve often wondered if it wasn’t the East Coast literary elite’s justification for approving of her work.

    She is a native of Sacramento, but has spent most of her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. Two of her non-fiction books (collections of essays) that received great praise are “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” and “Where I Was From.” Her 2005 book “The Year of Magical Thinking” reflected on her simultaneous twin tragedies of her daughter’s severe illness and her husband’s sudden death. It was awarded the National Book Award for Non-Fiction. I might recommend this as your next Didion tome.

    The one I would not rush to library to check out is “Play it as it Lays.” This is an example of of her fiction writing; it was highly praised and recommended, but I am not a fan.

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