On men

Where the cottonwoods grow

… and it was there, that summer of 1943 while the hot wind blew outside, that I first saw John Wayne. Saw the walk, heard the voice. Heard him tell the girl in a picture calledΒ War of the WildcatsΒ that he would build her a house, ‘at the bend in the river where the cottonwoods grow.’ As it happened 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 and have taken me to live in many places I have come to love, they have never been John Wayne, and they have never taken me to that bend in the river where the cottonwoods grow. Deep in that part of my heart where the artificial rain forever falls, that is still the line I wait to hear.”

β€”Joan Didion, “John Wayne: A Love Song” in Slouching Towards Bethlehem