In Joan Didion’s haunting memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, she recounts her experiences in the year after her husband John Gregory Dunne died, and the year her daughter Quintana died.
She writes that the night Dunne died, or the night before:
“‘He said that his current piece in The New York Review, a review of Gavin Lambert’s biography of Natalie Wood, was worthless… ‘Why did I waste time on a piece about Natalie Wood,’ he said.“
It would be impossible to weigh every decision against the test: “If I die tomorrow, will I be glad I took the time to complete this task?” On the other hand, it’s a question worth keeping mind, always.
Sidenote: Look closely at the jacket of The Year of Magical Thinking. Notice anything? The word J O H N is spelled out in ghostly letters.