160 Best Joan Didion Quotes about Life and Happiness

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Today Joan Didion Quotes ideas

“A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.”

@Joan Didion

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“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

@Joan Didion

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“Grammar is a piano I play by ear.”

@Joan Didion

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“It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.”

@Joan Didion

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“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.”

@Joan Didion

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“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”

@Joan Didion

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“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

@Joan Didion

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“Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?”

@Joan Didion

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“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

@Joan Didion

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“New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself.”

@Joan Didion

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“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”

@Joan Didion

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“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”

@Joan Didion

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“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”

@Joan Didion

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“You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that.”

@Joan Didion

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“To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves–there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.”

@Joan Didion

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“Late afternoon on the West Coast ends with the sky doing all its brilliant stuff.”

@Joan Didion

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“That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.”

@Joan Didion

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“My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests.”

@Joan Didion

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“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”

@Joan Didion

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“Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”

@Joan Didion

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Short Quotes By Joan Didion

“Innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself.”

@Joan Didion

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“In many ways, writing is the act of saying ‘I,’ of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying, ‘Listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.’ It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act.”

@Joan Didion

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“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

@Joan Didion

“We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices.”

@Joan Didion

“Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.”

@Joan Didion

“To believe in ‘the greater good’ is to operate, necessarily, in a certain ethical suspension.”

@Joan Didion

“Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.”

@Joan Didion

“Not much about California, on its own preferred terms, has encouraged its children to see themselves as connected to one another.”

@Joan Didion

“I closed the box and put it in a closet. There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”

@Joan Didion

“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself.”

@Joan Didion

“Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.”

@Joan Didion

“Of course, great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service.”

@Joan Didion

“We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”

@Joan Didion

“The clothes chosen for me as a child had a strong element of the Pre-Raphaelite, muted greens and ivories, dusty rose, what seems in retrospect an eccentric amount of black.”

@Joan Didion

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

@Joan Didion

“Strength is one of those things you’re supposed to have. You don’t feel that you have it at the time you’re going through it.”

@Joan Didion

“I could not count the times during the average day when something would come up that I needed to tell him. This impulse did not end with his death. What ended was the possibility of response.”

@Joan Didion

“Memories are what you no longer want to remember.”

@Joan Didion

“Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”

@Joan Didion

“I’m totally in control of this tiny, tiny world right there at the typewriter.”

@Joan Didion

New Quotes from Joan Didion

“The ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language.”

@Joan Didion

“The apparent ease of California life is an illusion, and those who believe the illusion real live here in only the most temporary way.”

@Joan Didion

“Water is important to people who do not have it, and the same is true of control.”

@Joan Didion

“We imagine things – that we wouldn’t be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. We have no choice, so we do it.”

@Joan Didion

“I am a writer. Imagining what someone would say or do comes to me as naturally as breathing.”

@Joan Didion

“I start a book and I want to make it perfect, want it to turn every color, want it to be the world. Ten pages in, I’ve already blown it, limited it, made it less, marred it. That’s very discouraging. I hate the book at that point.”

@Joan Didion

“What makes Iago evil? Some people ask. I never ask.”

@Joan Didion

“When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something… but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, that is when we join the fashionable madmen.”

@Joan Didion

“It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive.”

@Joan Didion

“I have always wanted a swimming pool and never had one.”

@Joan Didion

“One thing in my defense, not that it matters: I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you. I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing.”

@Joan Didion

“You aren’t sure if you’re making the right decision – about anything, ever.”

@Joan Didion

“Marriage is memory, marriage is time. Marriage is not only time: it is also, parodoxically, the denial of time.”

@Joan Didion

“There’s a general impulse to distract the grieving person – as if you could.”

@Joan Didion

“We imagined we knew everything the other thought, even when we did not necessarily want to know it, but in fact, I have come to see, we knew not the smallest fraction of what there was to know.”

@Joan Didion

“Nothing I read about grief seemed to exactly express the craziness of it; which was the interesting aspect of it to me – how really tenuous our sanity is.”

@Joan Didion

“I did not always think he was right nor did he always think I was right but we were each the person the other trusted.”

@Joan Didion

“Quite often you want to tell somebody your dream, your nightmare. Well, nobody wants to hear about someone else’s dream, good or bad; nobody wants to walk around with it. The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to the dream.”

@Joan Didion

“Why do you always have to be right. Why do you always have to have the last word. For once in your life just let it go.”

@Joan Didion

“Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power.”

@Joan Didion

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“Time is the school in which we learn”

@Joan Didion

“The West begins where the average annual rainfall drops below twenty inches. Water is important to people who do not have it, and the same is true of control.”

@Joan Didion

“Writers are always selling somebody out.”

@Joan Didion

“Was there ever in anyone’s life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before?”

@Joan Didion

“I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing.”

@Joan Didion

“The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.”

@Joan Didion

“It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young.”

@Joan Didion

“I don’t think anybody feels like they’re a good parent. Or if people think they’re good parents, they ought to think again.”

@Joan Didion

“I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be…”

@Joan Didion

“One of the things that happens to people in grief is they secretly think they’re crazy, because they realize they are thinking things that don’t make sense.”

@Joan Didion

“I mean maybe I was holding all the aces, but what was the game?”

@Joan Didion

“The truth is, it’s easier for me to write than talk… to express the state I’m in at any time.”

@Joan Didion

“I am what I am. To look for reasons is beside the point.”

@Joan Didion

“I no longer want reminders of what was, what got broken, what got lost, what got wasted.”

@Joan Didion

“There was a level on which I believed that what had happened remained reversible”

@Joan Didion

“To those of us who remained committed mainly to the exploration of moral distinctions and ambiguities, the feminist analysis may have seemed a particularly narrow and cracked determinism.”

@Joan Didion

“Everything goes. I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes.”

@Joan Didion

“It took me a couple of years after I got out of Berkeley before I dared to start writing. That academic mind-set – which was kind of shallow in my case anyway – had begun to fade.”

@Joan Didion

“The future always looks good in the golden land, because no one remembers the past.”

@Joan Didion

“I do have a strong sense of an order in the universe.”

@Joan Didion

Medium Joan Didion Quotes on Love

“I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly.”

@Joan Didion

“Ask anyone committed to Marxist analysis how many angels dance on the head of a pin, and you will be asked in return to never mind the angels, tell me who controls the production of pins.”

@Joan Didion

“Above all, she is the girl who ‘feels’ things, who has hung on to the freshness and pain of adolescence, the girl ever wounded, ever young. Now, at an age when the wounds begin to heal whether one wants them to or not, Joan Baez rarely leaves the Carmel Valley.”

@Joan Didion

“Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won’t go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting.”

@Joan Didion

“There was silence. Something real was happening: this was, as it were, her life. If she could keep that in mind she would be able to play it through, do the right thing, whatever that meant.”

@Joan Didion

“Of course, you always think about how it will be read. I always aim for a reading in one sitting.”

@Joan Didion

“That no one dies of migraine seems to someone deep in an attack as an ambiguous blessing.”

@Joan Didion

“I have never started a novel – I mean except the first, when I was starting a novel just to start a novel – I’ve never written one without rereading Victory. It opens up the possibilities of a novel. It makes it seem worth doing.”

@Joan Didion

“I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.”

@Joan Didion

“What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”

@Joan Didion

“I could tell you that I came back because I had promises to keep, but maybe it was because nobody asked me to stay.”

@Joan Didion

“The fear is for what is still to be lost.”

@Joan Didion

“By the end of the week, she was thinking constantly about where her body stopped and the air began about the exact point in space and time that was the difference between Maria and other.”

@Joan Didion

“Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”

@Joan Didion

“Mourning has its place but also its limits.”

@Joan Didion

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live. We live entirely by the impression of a narrative line upon disparate images, the shifting phantasmagoria, which is our actual experience.”

@Joan Didion

“The past could be jettisoned . . . but seeds got carried.”

@Joan Didion

“There’s a point when you go with what you’ve got. Or you don’t go.”

@Joan Didion

“It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.”

@Joan Didion

“Let me just be in the ground. Let me just be in the ground and go to sleep.”

@Joan Didion

“Leis go brown, tectonic plates shift, deep currents move, islands vanish, rooms get forgotten.”

@Joan Didion

“How could this have happened when everything was normal?”

@Joan Didion

“When I am near the end of a book, I have to sleep in the same room with it.”

@Joan Didion

“When we talk about mortality we are talking about our children.”

@Joan Didion

“We still counted happiness and health and love and luck and beautiful children as “ordinary blessings.”

@Joan Didion

“Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention.”

@Joan Didion

“In Brentwood, we had a big safe-deposit box to put manuscripts in if we left town during fire season. It was such a big box that we never bothered to clean it out.”

@Joan Didion

“Nothing was irrevocable; everything was within reach… I could make promises to myself and to other people and there would be all the time in the world to keep them. I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of it would count.”

@Joan Didion

“Alcohol has its own well-know defects as a medication for depression but no one has ever suggested – ask any doctor – that it is not the most effective anti-anxiety agent yet known.”

@Joan Didion

“Tell me what matters,” BZ said. Nothing,” Maria said.”

@Joan Didion

“We write to discover what we think.”

@Joan Didion

“There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”

@Joan Didion

“Another thing I need to do, when I’m near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it…Somehow the book doesn’t leave you when you’re asleep right next to it.”

@Joan Didion

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