And doing it for the money seems to be how a writer stays respectable, at least in the eyes of fellow writers.Says writer Dan Wakefield, a friend of the couple’s from New York, “They didn’t give a shit about the movies except it was a way to make a lot of money.From the preface: “I went to San Francisco [for the title piece, about the hippie scene in the Haight] because I had not been able to work in some months, had been paralyzed by the conviction that writing was an irrelevant act, that the world as I had understood it no longer existed.” And many of the stories “Didion” tells are real-life horror stories: a suburban housewife who, one night when she was out of milk, set fire to her dumb lug of a husband; High Kindergarten, where children were given LSD; Howard Hughes.And yet the tone of the telling is noticeably, conspicuously not horrified; nor is it distressed, or even emotional; it’s the opposite, is composed, affectless, flat.
She’s cool-eyed and cold-blooded, and that coolness and coldness—chilling, of course, but also bracing—is the source of her fascination as much as her artistry is; the source of her glamour too, and her seductiveness, because she The subject of this piece, though, is not just a who, Didion, but a what, Hollywood. Soon the whole town would turn psychedelic, and such evenings would seem so old-fashioned as to have been in black and white even if they weren’t.) Among the splendidly monochromatic: Ronald and Nancy Reagan, David Selznick and Jennifer Jones, Billy Wilder, Loretta Young, Natalie Wood.
—takes the breath away, even after all these years.
Didion goes on: “I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind.
I don’t like to tell on Chris, but he wasn’t very fond of either of them.
I think he found her clammy.” (Isherwood already told on himself.