Didion has had a profound effect on journalism and American readers. Wrote Caitlin Flanagan in 2012: “Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them.”

Didion, who is now in her 80s, wrote in 1979 about watching the American news cycle and California in the 1960s, and, also, about losing a grip on living:

I was supposed to have a script, and had mislaid it. I was supposed to hear cues, and no longer did. I was meant to know the plot, but all I knew was what I saw: flash pictures in variable sequence, images with no ‘meaning’ beyond their temporary arrangement, not a movie but a cutting room experience.

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