Tag: author couples

Joan Didion

7 Crazy Facts About the Irreplaceable Joan Didion

Joan Didion is more than just an author; she’s an icon. She is an essayist, novelist, journalist, and everything in between. Didion is one of the most famous authors of all time. After the 1968 release of Slouching Towards Bethlehem, she gained a cult following of avid fans that has yet to cease.


And I, personally, am a part of that cult. I love Joan Didion with an intensity I could never begin to fully explain. From the moment I read On Self-Respect, she owned a part of my soul. I collect her essays like they’re going out-of-style (which they never will, obviously). She’s the writer I turn to whenever I feel my own writer’s block creeping in; she never fails to shake up my thoughts and make me see things differently.


Also, she’s taught me so much, and I don’t just mean in the emotional sense! She has taught me about water, about the Women’s Movement, all about the state of California (which I will be relocating to for the next six weeks in, like, four days and Didion has helped soothe my very anxious East Coast heart more than I could ever thank her for.), New York City, and so, so much more.


Joan Didion is above all else; she exists on a plane that is entirely her own. Her writing is bold, honest, dry, descriptive-yet-casual; she can make anything relatable, interesting, and easy to understand. She is the Queen of words. And, what better way to honor her ever-growing legacy than with some lesser-known facts about the wordsmith herself?


1. Didion is an insanely killer cook.


While everyone in the 1960’s was wasted out on hallucinogens and party favors, she spent her evenings cooking elaborate meals for dinner parties of thirty-to-forty guests.


Didion cooking

Via aftertastes


2. Nancy Reagan loathes her


After interviewing her for The Saturday Evening Post in 1968, Reagan was less-than-thrilled to find the piece dripping with Didion’s famed bluntness and ever-so-slightly-sarcastic edge, calling her a “bitch” and a “hack”. (Also, how angering is it to see someone refer to Queen Didion that way? Show some respect, Nancy!)


Nancy and Ronald Reagan

Image Via LGBTQ Nation


3. She told Vogue she spoke Middle English. 

In her application to Vogue in 1965, Didion wrote “middle English” when asked what languages she speaks. (Didion’s dry humor has been winning for decades.)


Joan Didion and John Dunne

Image Via James Howden


4. Warren Beatty was Didion’s not-so-secret admirer for years.


Apparently his love and constant come-ons to his close (and married) friend were a running joke amidst their inner circle.


Didion and friends

Image Via Interview Magazine


5. Harrison Ford was hired by Didion to help renovate her home in Malibu.


This was years before his own fame would erupt, and Ford has publicly spoken about how grateful he was to always be invited to Didion’s house parties, even when he was simply working as her carpenter. 

(Can you spot Harrison Ford back in his carpenter days?)


Harrison Ford as a carpenter

Image Via Gauchazh


6. A babysitter predicted her daughter’s death


In 1966, the babysitter Didion hired to watch over her daughter Quintana told her Quintana had an “aura of death surrounding her”. Quintana passed away on August 26, 2005 at the age of thirty-nine.


Didion and Quintana

Image Via The Cut


7. She freezes her manuscripts


Didion would put her manuscripts in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer whenever she had writer’s block. (Even Joan Didion struggles with writer’s block!)


Didion and Dunne reading

Image Via Vanity Fair


How lucky are we to be alive at the same time as this literal legend? Long live Joan Didion, huzzah! 





Featured Image via Scratchbook.net

Zelda and Scott FitzGerald

The Top Five Doomed Literary Couples

We were as sad as everyone else to wake up this morning to the news of Anna Faris and Chris Pratt’s separation. Especially since their ‘getting-together’ story involves the adorable revelation that they both had dead-bug collections. So while Hollywood is in mourning, we put together a list of the top five doomed couples of the literary world. 



1. Zelda Sayre and F. Scott FitzGerald. 


FitzGerald, Sayre and their daughter Scottie

Image Courtesy of MentalFloss


This doomed couple of the roaring twenties are one of the most famous literary couples of all time; their relationship and penchant for partying almost as legendary as their work (I say ‘their work’ because, apart from Zelda writing a lesser known novel ‘Save Me The Waltz,’  much of Scott’s famous prose was lifted from Zelda’s diary…) Despite taking direct inspiration from his relationship with Sayre, FitzGerald was furious when ‘Save Me The Waltz’ appeared to divulge details of their relationship. Both parties were unfaithful to one another, with Sayre even accusing FitzGerald of having an affair with Ernest Hemingway. Due to Zelda’s ill health, she lived much of her later life in institutions, and, though the couple never divorced, they were living apart when FitzGerald when he died suddenly in 1940. 



2. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath 


Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Image Courtesy of YouTube


Plath and Hughes’s relationship is often touted as one of the most dysfunctional in literature, ending with Plath’s suicide in 1963. At this stage, the two were estranged though not divorced. It has been alleged that Hughes’s philandering spurred Plath’s depression and recently, previously-unseen letters from Plath were discovered, accusing Hughes of physical violence towards her. Much of each other’s most famous work is inspired by their relationship including many of Plath’s poems in ‘Ariel,’ and Hughes’s collection ‘Birthday Letters.’



3. Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West


Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

Image Courtesy of BrainPickings 


Woolf and Sackville-West met in 1922 when Woolf was forty and Sackville-West thirty. Both were married but had open relationships with their spouses. They instantly formed a bond which lasted until Woolf’s death in 1941, during which time West famously described herself, in what might be one of the most honest, beautiful comments anyone has ever made about love, as ‘reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.’ Though they were not lovers the entire time, they remained important to one another, with Sackville-West penning a heartfelt letter of condolence to Leonard Woolf when Virginia passed away. The relationship between Woolf and Sackville-West was far less tumultuous than some on this list, with the two enjoying a genuine love and respect for each other.



4. Mary Karr and David Foster Wallace 


Mary Karr and David Foster Wallace

Image Courtesy of Flavorwire


Poet Mary Karr and author David Foster Wallace had an affair in the early 90s. Foster Wallace had said before they got together that he had become obsessed with Karr, even tattooing her name on his body, and considering killing her husband. While the two were together, Karr alleged Foster Wallace’s behavior was sometimes violent and erratic. Karr was the inspiration behind Foster Wallace’s most famous work, the sprawling ‘Infinite Jest.’ When Foster Wallace died, Karr penned a deeply moving poem, Suicide’s Note: An Annual, in his honor. 



5. Arthur Rimbaud and Peter Verlaine


Verlaine and Rimbaud

Image Courtesy of Kentishtowner


When poet extraordinaire Arthur Rimbaud was eighteen, he wrote to several poets hoping that one would take him on as an apprentice. He received a positive reply from Verlaine, who sent him a one-way ticket to Paris, accompanied by the message: “Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire you.” Shortly after Rimbaud arrived, he and Verlaine began a short and disastrous affair, which, after Verlaine had left his young wife and infant son to move to London with Rimbaud, culminated in Verlaine shooting Rimbaud in the wrist in a drunken rage. Verlaine was sentenced to two years in prison and the relationship between the two world renowned poets ended there. Rimbaud’s wrist healed and he went on to become one of the most famous poets in history. 


Featured Image Courtesy of NPR