Happy Birthday, Joan Didion

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Joan Didion’s 78th birthday is as good an excuse as any to revisit her conversation with Sheila Heti for the Believer.

The two talk about the performative aspects of writing, the confidence a writer has to claim, and Didion’s aborted oceanography career.

Plus, if you’re blocked or spiraling down a procrastination wormhole, you may find it reassuring to know that even Joan Didion feels the same way sometimes: “I’m not writing now. I wish I were. I haven’t written—I have to do something. I’m going to write a couple of pieces next, but I can’t seem to focus in on them. In the spring I’m going to try to focus in on something.”


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →