Hanging Out With Joan Didion: What I Learned About Writing From an American Master

Sara Davidson in Literary Hub:

I arranged to meet Joan Didion in 1971 after reading Slouching Toward BethlehemI found her essays hypnotic, in a voice I’d never heard, expressing ideas I knew were true but couldn’t have articulated. I was reporting for several magazines and asked a colleague who’d met her to introduce us. He gave me her number and when I was in LA, I took a deep breath, dialed it, and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, picked up the phone. I asked for Joan Didion.

“Who’s calling?”

I told him my name, and said I wanted to tell her how much I liked her work. Then, realizing he was also a writer, I stammered, “I… I mean… I like your writing also…”

“Just a minute,” he said. Joan picked up the phone and her first words were: “Would you like to come to dinner?”

Although she’s shy and can be reticent with strangers, we had much in common: we’d grown up in California, gone to Berkeley, joined a sorority and quit, majored in English and studied with Mark Schorer but in different decades—she in the 1950s, I in the 60s.

More here.