The Electric Typewriter

Great articles and essays by the world's best journalists and writers.

15 Great Essays by Joan Didion

15 essential essays from the master of the form, all free to read online

On Life and Death

Holy Water

"Some of us who live in arid parts of the world think about water with a reverence others might find excessive."

After Life

In the aftermath of her husband's death, Didion meditates on the fickle fragility of life.

Marrying Absurd

"Las Vegas is the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in its devotion to immediate gratification, a place the tone of which is set by mobsters and call girls and ladies’ room attendants with amyl nitrite in their uniform pockets."

The White Album

An eclectic collection of short memoir and disjointed prose snapshots from the years 1968 -1978.

The Santa Ana

" There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow..."

On Morality

“You can’t just leave a body on the highway,” she said. “It’s immoral.”

On Self Respect

"Once, in a dry season, I wrote in large letters across two pages of a notebook that innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself..."

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream

The dark side of the American Dream.

John Wayne: A Love Song

"I did not grow up to be the kind of woman who is the heroine in a Western, and although the men I have known have had many virtues, they have never been John Wayne."

On Growing Up

Goodbye to All That

"When I first saw New York some instinct, programmed by all the movies I had ever seen and all the songs I had ever heard about New York, informed me that things would never be quite the same again."

In Sable and Dark Glasses

Growing up - J-diddy style.

On Writing

On Keeping a Notebook

A beautiful meditation on keeping notes that explores the heart of the writing process.

Why I Write

Exploring the art of writing, and what it means to the author.