“…I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”
I am not sure this is what Joan Didion meant. If this mad child turned up at my door, I’d be reluctant to let her in. Tonight I went to my friend Willo’s house: we have been best friends (a few teenaged discrepancies aside) since we were both 11, and she has an envelope containing much of our correspondence from the 11-16 period. Although I first read “Play It As It Lays” a couple of years ago due to the recommendation of a favourite singer, I first read this quote about “nodding terms” in something Tavi Gevinson wrote (look, Didion is not so much a byword for clued-in teens over here, okay), and coincidentally, I wrote these chronically insubstantial, daft letters at the age I think she is now. Moral of the story: you were always much dumber than you remember yourself, even if you were supposedly some kind of child genius.