Uncommon Thought | Goodbye to All That
We know the feeling all too well. The one where you fall deeply in love only to be let down, disappointed, overworked, mistreated. And as much as you get tread through the mud, you stay right there, determined to make the relationship work. It’s the classic love-hate New York story.
Thanks to this article in The Cut, we’re aware of a new book due out next month that laments with us. Goodbye to All That, named after the Joan Didion essay that gave voice to breaking up with New York, is a collection of short stories by 28 writers who felt the same grief with their once-beloved City of Dreams and ultimately decided to leave.
We related to these excerpts from the article and book as well as the original essay by Didion. While we’re not quite ready to call it quits in NYC, we’ll likely be seen toting a copy of the book around the city we still love and call home.
From Ann Friedman’s commentary in The Cut:
It’s always struck me as hilarious that friends who tout their taste in undiscovered music and underground supper clubs were so loyal to the most popular city in America. New York is the prom king. He knows he’s great, and he’s gonna make it really, really hard on you if you decide you want to love him.
Part of Ruth Curry’s adaptation of Goodbye to All That for Buzzfeed:
The city lent itself especially well to a mental configuration in which you were an extra in an artsy, high-budget movie and saw everything as if through a camera on a set.”
And Joan Didion on that feeling of love from the essay:
It would be a long while because, quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again. I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later—because I did not belong there, did not come from there—but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.
If you haven’t had a chance, there’s still a few days left to read Didion’s The Last Thing He Wanted. It’s our first selection for The Read, our new book club for #uncommonthought. We’ll be gathering in our digital living rooms to discuss on the last day of the month.