the risk that something unfinished will be published

“The peculiarity of being a writer,” [Joan] Didion says, “is that the entire enterprise involves the mortal humiliation of seeing one’s own words in print.” (Just by making this statement Didion clearly inserts herself, the writer, into the story.)

Yet even worse than publication, she says, is the risk that something unfinished will be published.

Adrienne LaFrance

omg. this. so much this.

Just tried to track down the article this piece is about [Joan Didion, Life and Letters, “Last Words,” The New Yorker, November 9, 1998, p. 74] and was foiled. None of the databases go back far enough (seriously what’s up with databases that only go back to 2002?). Will have to go to the VPL and track down the print version. SFU has its old issues on microfilm. Microfilm! How… 20th century.

ETA: So I actually went to the library and found the old New Yorkers in the stacks, located the right volume, and… some asshat who’s apparently never heard of a photocopier had torn out this essay. #fail