Or a memoir: her recollection of first-person, chronological events. Recently I typed “The White Album” word for word into Text Edit just to feel it in my fingers.
I typed for three days, and when I was done, I closed the document without saving.
He asked if I was trying to have a relationship with God.
And I told him that no, those things didn’t even cross my mind anymore.
I have read “The White Album” five times this year. Page 27 is taped back together; I’d been reading too fast and tore a semi-circle out of the text. “The White Album” is Joan Didion’s wildly scattered and mostly failed attempt at understanding the ’60s, and, by understanding the ’60s, understanding herself.
She begins with a transcript of her own mental health examination, her diagnosis as a paranoid psychotic, and ends by recounting a triple homicide in her own neighborhood.Didion discusses the structure of immediate family versus the family you are raising children in.She struggles with the conflict of raising her child away from what she once considered home.The stimulus of the story is that Didion is reflecting her own values in her mid thirties that reflect how the generation after WWII feels about family lifestyle.Didion reflects her own disconnect that she know feels with her family that she know her own child will also feel.I first read “The White Album” in John D’agata‘s collection . I worry, though, that if I dissect it too closely, if I cut it down to the bone, it will die on the operating table and I won’t be able to bring it back to life.I worry if I see it naked, it will lose its mystery. But as I dig down into it, as I tease the pieces apart, I don’t find magic or mystery or bone; I find white space, and air, and paper.What I mean is, “The White Album” has become part of me.But now that I’ve said that out loud, it sounds stupid, and I take it back. I keep hoping to find something in my life that does not obey the law of diminishing returns, that does not grow stale and tired and flat. I read it again and again and it always feels brand new.The stance of the story was mostly about addressing the ever-changing idea of what home means to the author.She claims that WWII changed how we perceive home and what people do after they leave home as adults.