Being Joan Didion

Our fair lady of existential dread, Joan Didion, is heading to Harvard Square next month for a reading of her new memoir, “Blue Nights.” Tickets are now on sale. In preparation for her arrival, we’ve re-worked some classic “I Saw You Harvard” sightings in Didion’s unmistakable style:

“I saw you, I did see you, as if born from light and sadness and heavy. You tapped your knuckles on the counter. It was at the Greenhouse Café, that time I first saw you, at Greenhouse Café that I held so close my tattered, worn copy of “The Second Sex,” the new translation by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, and I felt that we could one day be that image I had always kept in the corner of my mind where my desires met my skull. In that image we held hands as we stepped off the curb in front of CVS. My Crest whitening toothpaste in one hand and yours in the other, we would step off that curb past third-wave feminism and the Pit where infinity resides.”

“I saw you ... British rower. Or maybe you are Australian. Or German. I am not sure where you come from, some land across the water where there are white men with accents that to a girl from Oklahoma are not real places where real people live. Just as you are not real to me. In Lamont I see you sitting slouched over a chair—accompanied by your golden halo of blonde hair and that infinitely romantic look of befuddlement—as you come across words you do not understand in your “Madness and Medicine” readings. Increasingly I become aware that you are my madness, you are my medicine. Cause, symptom, cure. I don’t dare provoke this fresh despair; instead I return to my bagel. The bagel is, remarkably, stale.”


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