Joan Didion's new memoir is Blue Nights, her account of "losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old."
From her Q & A with David Ulin at the Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy blog:
JC: Part of the book deals with parental guilt, or parental failure. You write: "I do not know many people who think they have succeeded as parents."--Marshal Zeringue
JD: Just as we can't know our children, I don't see how we can be successful as parents.
JC: When you say "successful as parents," what do you mean?
JD: The ideal thing would be that the child is happy and satisfied with what life eventually brings. I certainly can't say that Quintana was ever satisfied with what life was bringing her, or that she was particularly happy. In fact, she was dramatically unhappy much of the time. I often think I didn't give her credit for that. What I mean is that I didn't take it seriously enough, because I just thought that was the way children were.
JC: That's a tendency with all parents, I think. Not quite to see your children, to minimize their concerns ...
JD: You think of them as little children, and they're cute and they're funny, and you don't take them at all seriously. The adults pay no attention. And we may not even want them to pay attention.
JC: In "Blue Nights," you say that writing no longer comes easily to you. But you've never given the impression that writing was the easiest act.
JD: It...[read on]