Sara Davidson is no stranger to the world of writing. Over the past 40 years she has published six books, was a journalist for the Boston Globe covering everything from the high profile campaigns of Bobby Kennedy and Richard Nixon to Woodstock, she wrote television shows and her magazine articles have appeared in popular publications like Esquire, Oprah, New York Times Magazine and Rolling Stone. She was a pioneer in the field of literary journalism and paved the way for writers who enjoy combining the research of journalism with the story telling of fiction.
Her recent project is a Byliner Original, Joan, about her friend and mentor, literary icon, Joan Diadon. This memoir chronicles their 40-year friendship with nine compelling vignettes. True to her style, Davidson draws us in by setting the scene and using well crafted dialogue to engage us into the story. It is done so seamlessly, we feel as if we are right there in the same room, watching it all unfold before us.
The topics covered in this e-book are ones many of us can relate to; marriage, family, friendship and writing. I enjoyed each section, but as a writer, the parts where Davidson is talking with Diadon about the craft and business of writing, fascinated me the most.
In one scene, Davidson asked her friend how she felt when she got up in the morning and knew she had to go to her office to write.
Diadon replied, “Oh, I don’t want to go in there at all. It’s low dread, every morning. That dread goes away after you’ve been in there an hour. I keep saying ‘in there’ as if it’s some kind of chamber, a different atmosphere. It is in a way. There’s almost a psychic wall. The air changes. I mean you don’t want to go through that door, but once you’re in there, you’re there and it’s hard to go out.”
Davidson’s friendship with Diadon has helped mold her into the writer she is today. In a recent interview she said she can’t even imagine what her life would be like or what kind of writer she would be today without her good friend.
“She has been a huge influence,” shared Davidson. “ Just knowing that she was there as a friend and a supporter, really made a difference in my life. I feel very blessed and grateful.”
The main thing she learned from Diadon about writing is that anything can be fixed.
“If you keep going in day after day if you keep putting yourself in the writing place and put in your hours every day, something will come through,” said Davidson. “At this point in my life I now trust that. I am not anxious in the way I used to be. I learned by experience that if I just keep at it and keep turning out pages I don’t particularly like, when I go back through them, they will get better.”
Clearly this has worked for Davidson and has allowed her to make a living doing what she loves doing. This latest book, Joan, is Davidson’s first venture into the world of digital publishing and she likes the idea of putting her work on the Internet and have it available to her readers for a long time. She hopes to have some of here earlier books available in digital format soon.
When asked what advice she has for new writers, Davidson said, “Write what you are called to write and don’t let anyone tell you it won’t sell or there is no market for it or it’s already been done… everything’s been done. It is all about the way it's done. Nobody has done it the way you will do it.”
A Visit With Joan Diadon
Between Magazines and Books, E-Publishing Platforms for Long-Form Journalism
Other Articles by Sara Davidson
Kerrie Flanagan is a freelance writer and director of Northern Colorado Writers.