WRITING: what joan didion packed
TO PACK AND WEAR 2 Skirts 2 Jerseys or Leotards 1 pullover sweater 2 pair shoes stockings bra nightgown, robe, slippers cigarettes bourbon bag with: shampoo toothbrush and paste basis soap razor, deodorant aspirin, prescription face cream, powder, baby oil
TO CARRY mohair throw typewriter 2 legal pads and pens files house key
This is a list which was taped inside my closet door in Hollywood during those years when I was reporting more or less steadily. The list enabled me to pack, without thinking, for any piece I was likely to do. Notice the anonymity of costume. Notice the mohair throw for trunk line flights (i.e., no blankets) and for the motel room in which the air conditioner could not be turned off. Notice the bourbon for the same motel room. Notice the typewriter for the airport, coming home: the idea was to turn in the Hertz car, check in, find an empty bench, and start typing the days notes.
It should be clear that this was a list made by someone who prized control, yearned after momentum, someone determined to play her role as if she had the script, heard her cues, knew the narrative. There is on this list one significant omission, one article I needed and never had: a watch. (...) In other words I had.... slippers, cigarettes, bourbon, shampoo, toothbrush and paste ... mohair throw, typewriter, legal pads, pens, files, and a house key but I didn't know what time it was. This may be a parable, either of my life as a reporter during this period or of the period itself.
Joan Didion, The White Album