One of the marks of a truly gifted writer is the ability to turn from a novel writer to a respected journalist. Joan Didion is a writer that has accomplished this and much more. She’s been a novel writer, journalist, political activist, and cultural icon. Her influence has been so far-reaching, Netflix decided to release a documentary chronicling her career in 2017. Joan Didion is known as one of the most celebrated writers of her generation. Today, I want to draw even further attention to this remarkable writer’s contribution to journalism and American culture.
California During the 1960s
One of Joan Didion’s most notable works is the book Slouching Towards Bethlehem, which was a collection of essays about life in California in the 1960s. Joan was born and raised in Sacramento but moved to Los Angeles, California. Because of her father’s career as an Army finance officer, the Didion family moved frequently. Her father was charged with sorting through finance contracts dating back to World War I, and the family had to move from base to base with him.
In this book, she focuses on observations of daily life in San Francisco. The book was known as an often startling, but intriguing look at lost young men and women during the revolutionary sixties era of the United States. Slouching Towards Bethlehem serves as an omen of disaster, describing what could befall society should humanity lose sight of what matters.
Contributing to American Culture
Joan Didion is acclaimed for her style of writing, which often contains lucid descriptions of the different states of humanity. Her past work featuring descriptions of daily life in San Fransisco, California during the turbulent sixties is the most well-known. She has had a more than 50-year career as a writer and journalist. Joan has described her approach to writing as an attempt to find out what she’s thinking. It’s about describing what she’s looking at, what she sees and what it means.
Joan Didion has been officially honored for her exceptional talents many times. She began earning awards and honors back in 1996 when she was given the Edward MacDowell Medal for her contributions to American culture and the Arts. Another time was by president Barack Obama. He presented her with a National Medal of Arts on July 3, 2013, at the White House.