That I was only now beginning the process of mourning did not occur to me.
Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention.Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking, pg. 143
This has been an interesting read for me, though I’m not done with the book yet.
I can usually sense my reading patterns with a book within the first few pages. My regular time to read is at night, right before bed. It’s the only time the boys will let me because, well, they’re asleep. If a book has a slow start, I’ll read about 10 pages a night, ramping up more steadily until the book’s finale, when I can read 50-60 pages in one sitting. If a book grabs me, I can do 30 pages a night, every night, until, again, I’ll read the climax and finale in one large, 100+ page session.
I read 30 pages the first night. 40 pages the next night. Then 6 pages the following.
Why the short section?
Because I can’t process Didion’s grief and agony properly. What she’s doing on these pages is a masterclass in effectively conveying sadness, hope, anguish, all the while never losing sight of the details and moments that would make someone want to be there with them. It’s too much at times, and never enough, needing me to read more.
This story has been a real help to me, helping me process my own feelings as the weeks and days move on.
It’s my first Didion book. I see there’s a documentary about her on Netflix I’m going to have to check out. Then, most likely, I’ll pick up a few more of her books.
Thanks for reading,
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