Few women ever live the life of a heroine in a western.
Mostly because it’s fiction and all…
Of course, I guess it depends, as time goes by, how one chooses to define “heroine” and “western.”
Didion is referring here to a line in War Of The Wildcats that she heard as a child.
But my guess is that all this nostalgia has more to do with losing the Eden of her youth than a deficiency of real life.
Honestly, my heart waits in anticipation for a few things too.
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.
-Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem